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Title: Fighting Instructions, 1530-1816
       Publications Of The Navy Records Society Vol. XXIX.

Author: Julian S. Corbett

Release Date: September 15, 2005 [EBook #16695]

Language: English

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                          PUBLICATIONS
                            OF THE
                      NAVY RECORDS SOCIETY
                           VOL. XXIX.

                     FIGHTING INSTRUCTIONS
                           1530-1816

                            EDITED
          WITH ELUCIDATIONS FROM CONTEMPORARY AUTHORITIES
                              BY
                    JULIAN  S. CORBETT, LL.M.

               PRINTED FOR THE NAVY RECORDS SOCIETY
                            MDCCCCV

                          THE COUNCIL
                            OF THE
                     NAVY  RECORDS  SOCIETY
                           1904-1905

       *       *       *       *       *

                                PATRON
            H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES, K.G., K.T., K.P.

                             PRESIDENT
                         EARL SPENCER, K.G.

                          VICE-PRESIDENTS
BRIDGE, ADMIRAL SIR CYPRIAN       |  PROTHERO, G.W.,
  A.G., G.C.B.                    |   LL.D.
HAWKESBURY, LORD.                 |  YORKE, SIR HENRY, K.C.B.

                             COUNCILLORS

ATKINSON, C.T.                    |  KIPLING, RUDYARD.
BATTENBURG, PRINCE LOUIS OF,      |  LORAINE, REAR-ADMIRAL SIR
  G.C.B.                          |    LAMBTON, BART.
BEAUMONT, VICE-ADMIRAL SIR        |  LYALL, SIR ALFRED C., G.C.I.E.
  LEWIS, K.C.B., K.C.M.G.         |  MARKHAM, SIR CLEMENTS R.,
CLARKE, COL. SIR GEORGE S.,       |    K.C.B., F.R.S.
  K.C.M.G.                        |  MARSDEN, R.G.
CORBETT, JULIAN S.                |  NEWBOLT, HENRY.
DESART, THE EARL OF, K.C.B.       |  PARR, REAR-ADMIRAL A.C.
DRURY, VICE-ADMIRAL SIR           |  SLADE, CAPTAIN EDMOND J.W.,
  CHARLES, K.C.S.I.               |    R.N.
FIRTH, PROFESSOR G.H., LL.D.      |  TANNER, J.R.
GINSBURG, B.W., LL.D.             |  THURSFIELD, J.R.
GODLEY, SIR ARTHUR, K.C.B.        |  TRACEY, ADMIRAL SIR RICHARD,
HAMILTON, ADMIRAL SIR R.          |    K.C.B.
  VESEY, G.C.B.                   |  WATTS, PHILIP, D.SC., F.R.S.

                              SECRETARY
     PROFESSOR J.K. LAUGHTON, D.Litt., King's College, London, W.C.

                              TREASURER
               W. GRAHAM GREENE, C.B., Admiralty, S.W.

The COUNCIL of the NAVY RECORDS SOCIETY wish it to be distinctly
understood that they are not answerable for any opinions or
observations that may appear in the Society's publications; For these
the responsibility rests entirely with the Editors of the several
works.




PREFACE


The inaccessibility of the official Fighting Instructions from time to
time issued to the fleet has long been a recognised stumbling-block to
students of naval history. Only a few copies of them were generally
known to exist; fewer still could readily be consulted by the public,
and of these the best known had been wrongly dated. The discovery
therefore of a number of seventeenth century Instructions amongst the
Earl of Dartmouth's papers, which he had generously placed at the
disposal of the Society, seemed to encourage an attempt to make
something like a complete collection. The result, such as it is, is
now offered to the Society. It is by no means exhaustive. Some sets of
Instructions seem to be lost beyond recall; but, on the other hand, a
good deal of hitherto barren ground has been filled, and it is hoped
that the collection may be of some assistance for a fresh study of the
principles which underlie the development of naval tactics.

It is of course as documents in the history of tactics that the
Fighting Instructions have the greatest practical value, and with this
aspect of them in view I have done my best to illustrate their
genesis, intention, and significance by extracts from contemporary
authorities. Without such illustration the Instructions would be but
barren food, neither nutritive nor easily digested. The embodiment of
this illustrative matter has to some extent involved a departure from
the ordinary form of the Society's publications. Instead of a general
introduction, a series of introductory notes to each group of
Instructions has been adopted, which it is feared will appear to bear
an excessive proportion to the Instructions themselves. There seemed,
however, no other means of dealing with the illustrative matter in a
consecutive way. The extracts from admirals' despatches and
contemporary treatises, and the remarks of officers and officials
concerned with the preparation or the execution of the Instructions,
were for the most part too fragmentary to be treated as separate
documents, or too long or otherwise unsuitable for foot-notes. The
only adequate way therefore was to embody them in Introductory Notes,
and this it is hoped will be found to justify their bulk.

A special apology is, however, due for the Introductory Note on
Nelson's memoranda. For this I can only plead their great importance,
and the amount of illustrative matter that exists from the pens of
Nelson's officers and opponents. For no other naval battle have we so
much invaluable comment from men of the highest capacity who were
present. The living interest of it all is unsurpassed, and I have
therefore been tempted to include all that came to hand, encouraged by
the belief that the fullest material for the study of Nelson's tactics
at the battle of Trafalgar could not be out of place in a volume
issued by the Society in the centenary year.

As to the general results, perhaps the most striking feature which the
collection brings out is that sailing tactics was a purely English
art. The idea that we borrowed originally from the Dutch is no longer
tenable. The Dutch themselves do not even claim the invention of the
line. Indeed in no foreign authority, either Dutch, French or Spanish,
have I been able to discover a claim to the invention of any device in
sailing tactics that had permanent value. Even the famous tactical
school which was established in France at the close of the Seven
Years' War, and by which the French service so brilliantly profited in
the War of American Independence, was worked on the old lines of
Hoste's treatise. Morogues' _Tactique Navale_ was its text-book,
and his own teaching was but a scientific and intelligent elaboration
of a system from which the British service under the impulse of Anson,
Hawke, and Boscawen was already shaking itself free.

Much of the old learning which the volume contains is of course of
little more than antiquarian interest, but the bulk of it in the
opinion of those best able to judge should be found of living value.
All systems of tactics must rest ultimately on the dominant weapon in
use, and throughout the sailing period the dominant weapon was, as
now, the gun. In face of so fundamental a resemblance no tactician
can afford to ignore the sailing system merely because the method of
propulsion and the nature of the material have changed. It is not the
principles of tactics that such changes affect, but merely the method
of applying them.

Of even higher present value is the process of thought, the line of
argument by which the old tacticians arrived at their conclusions good
and bad. In studying the long series of Instructions we are able to
detach certain attitudes of mind which led to the atrophy of
principles essentially good, and others which pushed the system
forward on healthy lines and flung off obsolete restraints. In an art
so shifting and amorphous as naval tactics, the difference between
health and disease must always lie in a certain vitality of mind with
which it must be approached and practised. It is only in the history
of tactics, under all conditions of weapons, movement and material,
that the conditions of that vitality can be studied.

For a civilian to approach the elucidation of such points without
professional assistance would be the height of temerity, and my thanks
therefore are particularly due for advice and encouragement to Admiral
Sir Cyprian Bridge, Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald Custance, Rear-Admiral
H.S.H. Prince Louis of Battenberg, and to Captain Slade, Captain of
the Royal Naval College. To Sir Reginald Custance and Professor
Laughton I am under a special obligation, for not only have they been
kind enough to read the proofs of the work, but they have been
indefatigable in offering suggestions, the one from his high
professional knowledge and the other from his unrivalled learning in
naval history. Any value indeed the work may be found to possess must
in a large measure be attributed to them. Nor can I omit to mention
the valuable assistance which I have received from Mr. Ferdinand Brand
and Captain Garbett, R.N., in unearthing forgotten material in the
Libraries of the Admiralty and the United Service Institution.

I have also the pleasure of expressing my obligations to the Earl of
Dartmouth, the Earl of St. Germans, and Vice-Admiral Sir Charles
Knowles, Bart., for the use of the documents in their possession, as
well as to many others whose benefits to the Society will be found
duly noted in the body of the work.




CONTENTS


PART I.--EARLY TUDOR PERIOD

1. INTRODUCTORY. ALONSO DE CHAVES ON SAILING TACTICS                   3
   Espejo de Navegantes, _circa_ 1530                                  6

2. INTRODUCTORY. AUDLEY'S FLEET ORDERS, _circa_ 1530                  14
   Orders to be used by the King's Majesty's Navy by the Sea          15

3. INTRODUCTORY. THE ADOPTION OF SPANISH TACTICS BY HENRY VIII        18
   Lord Lisle, 1545, No. 1                                            20
       "        "    No. 2                                            23

PART II.--ELIZABETHAN AND JACOBEAN

INTRODUCTORY. THE ELIZABETHAN ORIGIN OF RALEGH'S INSTRUCTIONS         27
  Sir Walter Ralegh, 1617                                             36

PART III.--CAROLINGIAN

1. INTRODUCTORY. THE ATTEMPT TO APPLY LAND FORMATIONS
   TO THE FLEET                                                       49
   Lord Wimbledon, 1625. No. 1                                        52
       "             "   No. 2                                        61
       "             "   No. 3                                        63

2. INTRODUCTORY. THE SHIP-MONEY FLEETS, _circa_ 1635                  73
   The Earl of Lindsey, 1635                                          77

PART IV.--THE FIRST DUTCH WAR

1. INTRODUCTORY. ENGLISH AND DUTCH ORDERS ON THE
     EVE OF THE WAR, 1648-53                                          81
   Parliamentary Orders, 1648                                         87
   Supplementary Instructions, _circa_ 1650                           88
   Marten Tromp, 1652                                                 91

2. INTRODUCTORY. ORDERS ISSUED DURING THE WAR, 1653 and 1654          92
   Commonwealth Orders, 1653                                          99

PART V.--THE SECOND DUTCH WAR

1. INTRODUCTORY. ORDERS OF THE RESTORATION                           107
   The Earl of Sandwich, 1665                                        108

2. INTRODUCTORY. MONCK, PRINCE RUPERT, AND THE DUKE OF YORK          110
   The Duke of York, 1665                                            122
   His Additional Instructions, 1665                                 126
   His Supplementary Order                                           128
   Prince Rupert, 1666                                               129

PART VI.--THE THIRD DUTCH  WAR TO THE REVOLUTION

1. INTRODUCTORY. PROGRESS OF TACTICS DURING THE WAR                  133
   The Duke of York, 1672                                            146
   His Supplementary Orders, 1672                                    148
   The Duke of York, 1672-3                                          149
   Final form of the Duke of York's Orders, 1673, with additions
     and observations subsequently made                              152

2. INTRODUCTORY. MEDITERRANEAN ORDERS, 1678                          164
   Sir John Narbrough, 1678                                          165

3. INTRODUCTORY. THE LAST STUART ORDERS                              168
   Lord Dartmouth, 1688                                              170

PART VII.--WILLIAM III. AND ANNE

1. INTRODUCTORY. LORD TORRINGTON, TOURVILLE, AND HOSTE               175
   Admiral Edward Russell, 1691                                      188

2. INTRODUCTORY. THE PERMANENT INSTRUCTIONS, 1703-1783               195
     Sir George Rooke, 1703                                          197

PART VIII.--ADDITIONAL FIGHTING INSTRUCTIONS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

INTRODUCTORY, ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF THE ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS       203
   Admiral Vernon, _circa_ 1740                                      214
   Lord Anson, _circa_ 1747                                          216
   Sir Edward Hawke, 1756                                            317
   Admiral Boscawen, 1759                                            219
   Sir George Rodney, 1782                                           225
   Lord Hood's Additions, 1783                                       228

PART IX.--THE LAST PHASE

1. INTRODUCTORY. THE NEW SIGNAL BOOK INSTRUCTIONS                    233
   Lord Howe, 1782                                                   239

2. INTRODUCTORY. THE SIGNAL BOOKS OF THE GREAT WAR                   252
   Lord Howe's Explanatory Instructions, 1799                        268

3. INTRODUCTORY. NELSON'S TACTICAL MEMORANDA                         280
   The Toulon Memorandum, 1803                                       313
   The Trafalgar Memorandum, 1805                                    316

4. INTRODUCTORY. INSTRUCTIONS AFTER TRAFALGAR                        321
   Admiral Gambier, 1807                                             327
   Lord Collingwood, 1808-1810                                       328
   Sir Alexander Cochrane, 1805-14                                   330

5. INTRODUCTORY, THE SIGNAL BOOK OF 1816                             335
   The Instructions of 1816                                          342

APPENDIX. 'FURTHER PARTICULARS OF THE TRAFALGAR FIGHT'               351

INDEX                                                                359




PART 1

EARLY TUDOR PERIOD

I.   ALONSO DE CHAVES, _circa_ 1530

II.  SIR THOMAS AUDLEY, 1530

III. LORD LISLE, 1545



ALONSO DE CHAVES ON SAILING TACTICS

INTRODUCTORY


The following extract from the _Espejo de Navegantes_, or
_Seamen's Glass_, of Alonso de Chaves serves to show the
development which naval tactics had reached at the dawn of the sailing
epoch. The treatise was apparently never published. It was discovered
by Captain Fernandez Duro, the well-known historian of the Spanish
navy, amongst the manuscripts in the library of the Academy of History
at Madrid. The exact date of its production is not known; but Alonso
de Chaves was one of a group of naval writers and experts who
flourished at the court of the Emperor Charles V in the first half of
the sixteenth century.[1] He was known to Hakluyt, who mentions him in
connection with his own cherished idea of getting a lectureship in
navigation established in London. 'And that it may appear,' he writes
in dedicating the second edition of his _Voyages_ to the lord
admiral, 'that this is no vain fancy nor device of mine it may please
your lordship to understand that the late Emperor Charles the
Fifth ... established not only a Pilot-Major for the examination of such
as sought to take charge of ships in that voyage' (_i.e._ to the
Indies), 'but also founded a notable lecture of the Art of Navigation
which is read to this day in the Contractation House at Seville. The
Readers of the Lecture have not only carefully taught and instructed
the Spanish mariners by word of mouth, but also have published sundry
exact and worthy treatises concerning marine causes for the direction
and encouragement of posterity. The learned works of three of which
Readers, namely of Alonso de Chaves, of Hieronymus de Chaves, and of
Roderigo Zamorano, came long ago very happily to my hands, together
with the straight and severe examining of all such Masters as desire
to take charge for the West Indies.' Since therefore De Chaves was an
official lecturer to the Contractation House, the Admiralty of the
Indies, we may take it that he speaks with full authority of the
current naval thought of the time. That he represented a somewhat
advanced school seems clear from the pains he takes in his treatise to
defend his opinions against the old idea which still prevailed, that
only galleys and oared craft could be marshalled in regular
order. 'Some may say,' he writes, 'that at sea it is not possible to
order ships and tactics in this way, nor to arrange beforehand so
nicely for coming to the attack or bringing succour just when wanted,
and that therefore there is no need to labour an order of battle since
order cannot be kept. To such I answer that the same objection binds
the enemy, and that with equal arms he who has taken up the best
formation and order will be victor, because it is not possible so to
break up an order with wind and sea as that he who is more without
order shall not be worse broken up and the sooner defeated. For ships
at sea are as war-horses on land, since admitting they are not very
nimble at turning at any pace, nevertheless a regular formation
increases their power. Moreover, at sea, so long as there be no storm,
there will be nothing to hinder the using of any of the orders with
which we have dealt, and if there be a storm the same terror will
strike the one side as the other; for the storm is enough for all to
war with, and in fighting it they will have peace with one another.'

At first sight it would seem that De Chaves in this argument takes no
account of superiority of seamanship--the factor which was destined to
turn the scale against Spain upon the sea. But the following passage
with which he concludes shows that he regarded seamanship as the
controlling factor in every case. 'And if,' he argues, 'they say that
the enemy will take the same thought and care as I, I answer that when
both be equal in numbers and arms, then in such case he who shall be
more dexterous and have more spirit and fortitude he will conquer, the
which he will not do, although he have more and better arms and as
much spirit as he will, if he be wanting in good order and
counsel. Just as happens in fencing, that the weaker man if he be more
dexterous gives more and better hits than the other who does not
understand the beats nor knows them, although he be the stronger. And
the same holds good with any army whatsoever on land, and it has been
seen that the smaller by their good order have defeated the stronger.'

From the work in question Captain Fernandez Duro gives four sections
or chapters in Appendix 12 to the first volume of his history,[2]
namely, 1. 'Of war or battle at sea,' relating to single ship
actions. 2. 'The form of a battle and the method of fighting,'
relating to armament, fire discipline, boarding and the like. 3. 'Of a
battle of one fleet against another.' 4. 'Battle.' In the last two
sections is contained the earliest known attempt to formulate a
definite fighting formation and tactical system for sailing fleets,
and it is from these that the following extracts have been translated.

It will be noted that in the root-idea of coming as quickly as
possible to close quarters, and in relying mainly on end-on fire, the
proposed system is still quite mediaeval and founded mainly upon
galley tactics. But a new and advanced note is struck in the author's
insistence on the captain-general's keeping out of action as long as
possible, instead of leading the attack in the time-honoured way. We
should also remark the differentiation of types, for all of which a
duty was provided in action. This was also a survival of galley
warfare, and rapidly disappeared with the advance of the sailing
man-of-war, never to be revived, unless perhaps it be returning in the
immediate future, and we are to see torpedo craft of the latest
devising taking the place and function of the _barcas_, with
their axes and augers, and armoured cruisers those of the _naos de
succurro_.



_ESPEJO DE NAVEGANTES,
circa_ 1530.

[+Fernandez Duro, Armada Espanola i. App. 12+.]

_Chapter III.--Of a Battle between One Fleet and Another_.

[_Extract_.]


... When the time for battle is at hand the captain-general should
order the whole fleet to come together that he may set them in order,
since a regular order is no less necessary in a fleet of ships for
giving battle to another fleet than it is in an army of soldiers for
giving battle to another army.

Thus, as in an army, the men-at-arms form by themselves in one quarter
to make and meet charges, and the light horse in another quarter to
support, pursue, and harass[3] so in a fleet, the captain-general
ought to order the strongest and largest ships to form in one quarter
to attack, grapple, board and break-up the enemy, and the lesser and
weaker ships in another quarter apart, with their artillery and
munitions to harass, pursue, and give chase to the enemy if he flies,
and to come to the rescue wherever there is most need.

The captain-general should form a detachment of his smaller and
lighter vessels, to the extent of one-fourth part of his whole fleet,
and order them to take station on either side of the main body. I mean
that they should always keep as a separate body on the flanks of the
main body, so that they can see what happens on one side and on the
other.

He should admonish and direct every one of the ships that she shall
endeavour to grapple with the enemy in such a way that she shall not
get between two of them so as to be boarded and engaged on both sides
at once.[4]

       *       *       *       *       *

Having directed and set in order all the aforesaid matters, the
captain-general should then marshal the other three-quarters of the
fleet that remain in the following manner.

He should consider his position and the direction of the wind, and how
to get the advantage of it with his fleet.

Then he should consider the order in which the enemy is formed,
whether they come in a close body or in line ahead,[5] and whether
they are disposed in square bodies or in a single line,[6] and whether
the great ships are in the centre or on the flanks, and in what
station is the flagship; and all the other considerations which are
essential to the case he should take in hand.

By all means he should do his best that his fleet shall have the
weather-gage; for if there was no other advantage he will always keep
free from being blinded by the smoke of the guns, so as to be able to
see one to another; and for the enemy it will be the contrary, because
the smoke and fire of our fleet and of their own will keep driving
upon them, and blinding them in such a manner that they will not be
able to see one another, and they will fight among themselves from not
being able to recognise each other.

Everything being now ready, if the enemy have made squadrons of their
fleet we should act in the same manner in ours, placing always the
greater ships in one body as a vanguard to grapple first and receive
the first shock; and the captain-general should be stationed in the
centre squadron, so that he may see those which go before and those
which follow.

Each of the squadrons ought to sail in line abreast,[7] so that all
can see the enemy and use their guns without getting in each other's
way, and they must not sail in file one behind the other, because
thence would come great trouble, as only the leading ships could
fight. In any case a ship is not so nimble as a man to be able to face
about and do what is best.[8]

The rearguard should be the ships that I have called the supports,
which are to be the fourth part of the fleet, and the lightest and
best sailers; but they must not move in rear of the fleet, because
they would not see well what is passing so as to give timely succour,
and therefore they ought always to keep an offing on that side or
flank of the fleet where the flagship is, or on both sides if they are
many; and if they are in one body they should work to station
themselves to windward for the reasons aforesaid.

And if the fleet of the enemy shall come on in one body in line
abreast,[9] ours should do the same, placing the largest and strongest
ships in the centre and the lightest on the flanks of the battle,
seeing that those which are in the centre always receive greater
injury because necessarily they have to fight on both sides.

And if the enemy bring their fleet into the form of a lance-head or
triangle, then ours ought to form in two lines [_alas_], keeping
the advanced extremities furthest apart and closing in the rear, so as
to take the enemy between them and engage them on both fronts, placing
the largest ships in the rear and the lightest at the advanced points,
seeing that they can most quickly tack in upon the enemy opposed to
them.

And if the enemy approach formed in two lines [_alas_], ours
ought to do the same, placing always the greatest ships over against
the greatest of the enemy, and being always on the look-out to take
the enemy between them; and on no account must ours penetrate into the
midst of the enemy's formation [_batalla_], because arms and
smoke will envelope them on every side and there will be no way of
relieving them.

The captain-general having now arrayed his whole fleet in one of the
aforesaid orders according as it seems best to him for giving battle,
and everything being ready for battle, all shall bear in mind the
signals he shall have appointed with flag or shot or topsail, that all
may know at what time to attack or board or come to rescue or retreat,
or give chase. The which signals all must understand and remember what
they are to do when such signals are made, and likewise the armed
boats shall take the same care and remember what they ought to do, and
perform their duty.[10]

_Chapter IV.--Battle_

Then the flagship shall bid a trumpet sound, and at that signal all
shall move in their aforesaid order; and as they come into range they
shall commence to play their most powerful artillery, taking care that
the first shots do not miss, for, as I have said, when the first shots
hit, inasmuch as they are the largest, they strike great dread and
terror into the enemy; for seeing how great hurt they suffer, they
think how much greater it will be at close range and so mayhap they
will not want to fight, but strike and surrender or fly, so as not to
come to close quarters.

Having so begun firing, they shall always first play the largest guns,
which are on the side or board towards the enemy, and likewise they
shall move over from the other side those guns which have wheeled
carriages to run on the upper part of the deck and poop.[11] And then
when nearer they should use the smaller ones, and by no means should
they fire them at first, for afar off they will do no hurt, and
besides the enemy will know there is dearth of good artillery and will
take better heart to make or abide an attack. And after having come to
closer quarters then they ought to play the lighter artillery. And so
soon as they come to board or grapple all the other kinds of arms
shall be used, of which I have spoken more particularly: first,
missiles, such as harpoons [_dardos_] and stones, hand-guns
[_escopetas_] and cross-bows, and then the fire-balls aforesaid,
as well from the tops as from the castles, and at the same time the
calthrops, linstocks, stink-balls [_pildoras_], grenades, and the
scorpions for the sails and rigging. At this moment they should sound
all the trumpets, and with a lusty cheer from every ship at once they
should grapple and fight with every kind of weapon, those with staffed
scythes or shear-hooks cutting the enemy's rigging, and the others
with the fire instruments [_trompas y bocas de fuego_] raining
fire down on the enemy's rigging and crew.

The captain-general should encourage all in the battle, and because he
cannot be heard with his voice he should bid the signal for action to
be made with his trumpet or flag or with his topsail.

And he should keep a look-out in every direction in readiness, when he
sees any of his ships in danger, to order the ships of reserve to give
succour, if by chance they have not seen it, or else himself to bear
in with his own ship.

The flagship should take great care not to grapple another, for then
he could not see what is passing in the battle nor control it. And
besides his own side in coming to help and support him might find
themselves out of action; or peradventure if any accident befell him,
the rest of the fleet would be left without guidance and would not
have care to succour one another, but so far as they were able would
fly or take their own course. Accordingly the captain-general should
never be of the first who are to grapple nor should he enter into the
press, so that he may watch the fighting and bring succour where it is
most needed.

The ships of support in like manner should have care to keep somewhat
apart and not to grapple till they see where they should first bring
succour. The more they keep clear the more will they have opportunity
of either standing off and using their guns, or of coming to close
range with their other firearms. Moreover, if any ship of the enemy
takes to flight, they will be able to give chase or get athwart her
hawse, and will be able to watch and give succour wherever the
captain-general signals.

The boats in like manner should not close in till they see the ships
grappled, and then they should come up on the opposite side in the
manner stated above, and carry out their special duties as occasion
arises either with their bases,[12] of which each shall carry its own,
and with their harquebuses, or else by getting close in and wedging up
the rudders, or cutting them and their gear away, or by leaping in
upon the enemy, if they can climb in without being seen, or from
outside by setting fire to them, or scuttling them with augers.[13]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Fernandez Duro, _De algunas obras desconocidas de Cosmografia y de
Namgaaon, &c._ Reprinted from the _Revista de Navegacion y Comercio_.
Madrid, 1894-5.

[2] _Armada Espanola desde la union de los Reines de Castilla y de
Aragon_.

[3] _Entrar y salir_--lit. 'to go in and come out,' a technical military
expression used of light cavalry. It seems generally to signify short
sudden attacks on weak points.

[4] Here follow directions for telling off a fourth of the largest boats
in the fleet for certain duties which are sufficiently explained in the
section on 'Battle' below.

[5] _Unos en pos de otros a la hila_--lit. one behind the other in file.

[6] _En escuadrones o en ala_. In military diction these words meant
'deep formation' and 'single line.' Here probably _ala_ means line
abreast. See next note.

[7] _Cado uno de los escuadrones debe ir en ala_. Here _escuadrone_ must
mean 'squadron' in the modern sense of a division, and from the context
_ala_ can mean nothing but 'line abreast,' 'line ahead' being strictly
forbidden.

[8] This, of course, refers to fire tactics ashore. The meaning is that
a ship, when she has delivered her fire, cannot retire by countermarch
and leave her next in file to deliver its fire in turn. The whole
system, it will be seen, is based on end-on fire, as a preparation for
boarding and small-arm fighting.

[9] _Viniere toda junta puesta in ala_.

[10] This sentence in the original is incomplete, running on into the
next chapter. For clearness the construction has been altered in the
translation.

[11] This remarkable evolution is a little obscure. The Spanish has '_y
moviendo asimismo los otros del otro bordo, aquellos que tienen sus
carretones que andan per cima de cubierta y toldo_.'

[12] _Versos_, breech-loading pieces of the secondary armament of ships,
and for aiming boats. Bases were of the high penetration or 'culverin'
type.

[13] _Dando barrenos_. This curious duty of the armed boats he has more
fully explained in the section on single ship actions, as follows: 'The
ships being grappled, the boat ready equipped should put off to the
enemy's ship under her poop, and get fast hold of her, and first cut
away her rudder, or at least jam it with half a dozen wedges in such
wise that it cannot steer or move, and if there is a chance for more,
without being seen, bore half a dozen auger holes below the water-line,
so that the ship founders.'

The rest of the chapter is concerned with the treatment of the dead and
wounded, pursuit of the enemy when victory is won, and the refitting of
the fleet.



AUDLEY'S FLEET ORDERS,
_circa_ 1530

INTRODUCTORY


The instructions drawn up by Thomas Audley by order of Henry VIII may
be taken as the last word in England of the purely mediaeval time,
before the development of gunnery, and particularly of broadside fire,
had sown the seeds of more modern tactics. They were almost certainly
drafted from long-established precedents, for Audley was a lawyer.
The document is undated, but since Audley is mentioned without any
rank or title, it was probably before November 1531, when he became
serjeant-at-law and king's serjeant, and certainly before May 1632
when he was knighted. It was at this time that Henry VIII was plunging
into his Reformation policy, and had every reason to be prepared for
complications abroad, and particularly with Spain, which was then the
leading naval Power.

The last two articles, increasing the authority of the council of war,
were probably insisted on, as Mr. Oppenheim has pointed out in view
of Sir Edward Howard's attempts on French ports in 1512 and 1513, the
last of which ended in disaster.[1]

FOOTNOTE:

[1] _Administration of the Royal Navy_, p. 63.



_ORDERS TO BE USED BY THE KING'S MAJESTY'S NAVY BY THE SEA_.

[+Brit. Mus. Harleian MSS. 309, fol. 42, et seq.+[1]]

[_Extract_.]


If they meet with the enemy the admiral must apply to get the wind of
the enemy by all the means he can, for that is the advantage. No
private captain should board the admiral enemy but the admiral of the
English, except he cannot come to the enemy's, as the matter may so
fall out without they both the one seek the other. And if they chase
the enemy let them that chase shoot no ordnance till he be ready to
board him, for that will let[2] his ship's way.

Let every ship match equally as near as they can, and leave some
pinnaces at liberty to help the overmatched. And one small ship when
they shall join battle [is] to be attending on the admiral to relieve
him, for the overcoming of the admiral is a great discouragement of
the rest of the other side.

In case you board your enemy enter not till you see the smoke gone and
then shoot off[3] all your pieces, your port-pieces, the pieces of
hail-shot, [and] cross-bow shot to beat his cage deck, and if you see
his deck well ridden[4] then enter with your best men, but first win
his tops in any wise if it be possible. In case you see there come
rescue bulge[5] the enemy ship [but] first take heed your own men be
retired, [and] take the captain with certain of the best with him, the
rest [to be] committed to the sea, for else they will turn upon you to
your confusion.

The admiral ought to have this order before he joins battle with the
enemy, that all his ships shall bear a flag in their mizen-tops, and
himself one in the foremast beside the mainmast, that everyone may
know his own fleet by that token. If he see a hard match with the
enemy and be to leeward, then to gather his fleet together and seem to
flee, and flee indeed for this purpose till the enemy draw within
gunshot. And when the enemy doth shoot then [he shall] shoot again,
and make all the smoke he can to the intent the enemy shall not see
the ships, and [then] suddenly hale up his tackle aboard,[6] and have
the wind of the enemy. And by this policy it is possible to win the
weather-gage of the enemy, and then he hath a great advantage, and
this may well be done if it be well foreseen beforehand, and every
captain and master made privy to it beforehand at whatsoever time such
disadvantage shall happen.

The admiral shall not take in hand any exploit to land or enter into
any harbour enemy with the king's ships, but[7] he call a council and
make the captains privy to his device and the best masters in the
fleet or pilots, known to be skilful men on that coast or place where
he intendeth to do his exploit, and by good advice. Otherwise the
fault ought to be laid on the admiral if anything should happen but
well.[8]

And if he did an exploit without assent of the captains and [it]
proved well, the king ought to put him out of his room for purposing a
matter of such charge of his own brain, whereby the whole fleet might
fall into the hands of the enemy to the destruction of the king's
people.[29]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _A Book of Orders for the War both by Land and Sea, written by
Thomas Audley at the command of King Henry VIII.

[2] _I.e._ hinder.

[3] MS. 'the shot of.' The whole MS. has evidently been very carelessly
copied and is full of small blunders, which have been corrected in the
text above. 'Board' till comparatively recent times meant to close with
a ship. 'Enter' was our modern 'board.'

[4] 'Ridden' = 'cleared.'

[5] 'Bulge' = 'scuttle.' A ship was said to bulge herself when she ran
aground and filled.

[6] The passage should probably read 'hale or haul his tacks aboard.'

[7] _I.e._ 'without,' 'unless.'

[8] It was under this old rule that Boroughs lodged his protest against
Drake's entering Cadiz in 1587.

[9] The rest of the articles relate to discipline, internal order of
ships, and securing prize cargoes.



THE ADOPTION OF SPANISH TACTICS BY HENRY VIII

INTRODUCTORY


These two sets of orders were drawn up by the lord high admiral in
rapid succession in August 1545, during the second stage of Henry
VIII's last war with France. In the previous month D'Annibault, the
French admiral, had been compelled to abandon his attempt on
Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, and retire to recruit upon his own
coast; and Lord Lisle was about to go out and endeavour to bring him
to action.

The orders, it will be seen, are a distinct advance on those of 1530,
and betray strongly the influence of Spanish ideas as formulated, by
De Chaves. So striking indeed is the resemblance in many points; that
we perhaps may trace it to Henry's recent alliance with Charles V. The
main difference was that Henry's 'wings' were composed of oared craft,
and to form them of sufficient strength he had had some of the newest
and smartest 'galliasses,' or 'galleys'--that is, his vessels
specially built for men-of-war--fitted with oars. The reason for this
was that the French fleet was a mixed one, the sailing division having
been reinforced by a squadron of galleys from the Mediterranean. The
elaborate attempts to combine the two types tactically--a problem
which the Italian admirals had hitherto found insoluble--points to an
advanced study of the naval art that is entirely characteristic of
Henry VIII.

The main idea of the first order is of a vanguard in three ranks,
formed of the most powerful hired merchant ships and the king's own
galleons and great ships, and supported by a strong rearguard of
smaller armed merchantmen, and by two oared wings on either flank
composed of royal and private vessels combined. The vanguard was to be
marshalled with its three ranks so adjusted that its general form was
that of a blunt wedge. In the first rank come eight of the large
merchantmen, mainly Hanseatic vessels; in the second, ten of the royal
navy and one private vessel; in the third, nineteen second-rate
merchantmen. The tactical aim is clearly that the heavy Hanseatic
ships should, as De Chaves says, receive the first shock and break up
the enemy's formation for the royal ships, while the third rank are in
position to support. The wings, which were specially told off to keep
the galleys in check, correspond to the reserve of De Chaves, and the
importance attached to them is seen in the fact that they contained
all the king's galleons of the latest type.

In the second set of instructions, issued on August 10, this order was
considerably modified. The fleet had been increased by the arrival of
some of the west-country ships, and a new order of battle was drawn up
which is printed in the _State Papers, Henry VIII_ (Old Series),
i. 810. The formation, though still retaining the blunt wedge design,
was simplified. We have now a vanguard of 24 ships, a 'battaill' or
main body of 40 ships, and one 'wing' of 40 oared 'galliasses,
shallops and boats of war.' The 'wing' however, was still capable of
acting in two divisions, for, unlike the vanguard and 'battaill,' it
had a vice-admiral as well as an admiral.



_LORD LISLE, No._ 1, 1545.

[+Le Fleming MSS. No. 2+.][1]

_The Order of Battle_.[2]

THE VANGUARD.


These be the ships appointed for the first rank of the vanguard:

In primis:

The Great Argosy.
The Samson Lubeck.
The Johannes Lubeck.
The Trinity of Dantzig.
The Mary of Hamburg.
The Pellican.
The Morion [of Dantzig].
The 'Sepiar' of Dantzig.
        = 8.

The second rank of the vanguard:

The Harry Grace a Dieu.
The Venetian.
The Peter Pomegranate.
The Mathew Gonson.
The Pansy.
The Great Galley.
The Sweepstake.
The Minion.
The Swallow.
The New Bark.
The Saul 'Argaly.'
        = 12 (_sic_).

The third rank of the vanguard:

The 'Berste Denar.'
The Falcon Lively.
The Harry Bristol.
The Trinity Smith.
The Margaret of Bristol.
The Trinity Reniger.
The Mary James.
The Pilgrim of Dartmouth.
The Mary Gorge of Rye.
The Thomas Tipkins.
The Gorges Brigges.
The Anne Lively.
        = 12.

The John Evangelist.
The Thomas Modell.
The Lartycke [or 'Lartigoe'].
The Christopher Bennet.
The Mary Fortune.
The Mary Marten.
The Trinity Bristol.
        = 7.

THE OARED WINGS.

Galleys and ships of the right wing:

The Great Mistress of England.
The Salamander.
The Jennet.
The Lion.
The Greyhound.
The Thomas Greenwich.
The Lesser Pinnace.
The Hind.
The Harry.
The Galley Subtle.
Two boats of Rye.
        = 12.

Galleys and ships of the left wing:

The Anne Gallant.
The Unicorn.
The Falcon.
The Dragon.
The Sacre.
The Merlin.
The Rae.
The Reniger pinnace.
The Foyst.
Two boats of Rye.
        = 11.

_The Fighting Instructions_.

_Item_. It is to be considered that the ranks must keep such
order in sailing that none impeach another. Wherefore it is requisite
that every of the said ranks keep right way with another, and take
such regard to the observing of the same that no ship pass his fellows
forward nor backward nor slack anything, but [keep] as they were in
one line, and that there may be half a cable length between every of
the ships.

_Item_. The first rank shall make sail straight to the front of
the battle and shall pass through them, and so shall make a short
return to the midwards as they may, and they [are] to have a special
regard to the course of the second rank; which two ranks is appointed
to lay aboard the principal ships of the enemy, every man choosing[3]
his mate as they may, reserving the admiral for my lord admiral.

_Item_. That every ship of the first rank shall bear a flag of
St. George's cross upon the fore topmast for the space of the fight,
which upon the king's determination shall be on Monday, the 10th of
August, _anno_ 1545.[4]

And every ship appointed to the middle rank shall for the space of the
fight bear a flag of St. George's cross upon her mainmast.

And every ship of the third rank shall bear a like flag upon his
mizen[5] mast top, and every of the said wings shall have in their
tops a flag of St. George.

_Item_. The victuallers shall follow the third rank and shall
bear in their tops their flags. Also that neither of the said wings
shall further enter into fight; but, having advantage as near
anigh[6] as they can of the wind, shall give succour as they shall
see occasion, and shall not give care to any of the small vessels to
weaken our force. There be, besides the said ships mentioned, to be
joined to the foresaid battle fifty sail of western ships, and whereof
be seven great hulks of 888 ton apiece, and there is also the number
of 1,200 of soldiers beside mariners in all the said ships.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] A similar list of ships is in a MS. in the Cambridge University
Library.

[2] This paper gives the order of the wings and vanguard only. The fifty
west-country ships that were presumably to form the rearguard had not
yet joined.

[3] MS. 'closing.'

[4] The fleets did not get contact till August 15.

[5] MS. 'messel.'

[6] MS. 'a snare a nye.' The passage is clearly corrupt. Perhaps it
should read 'neither of the said wings shall further enter into the
fight but as nigh as they can keeping advantage of the wind [_i.e._
without losing the weather-gage of any part of the enemy's fleet] but
shall give succour,' &c.



_LORD LISLE, No. 2._

[+Record Office, State Papers, Henry VIII.+]

_The Order for the said Fleet taken by the Lord Admiral the 10th day
of August, 1545_.[1]


1. First, it is to be considered that every of the captains with the
said ships appointed by this order to the vanward, battle and wing
shall ride at anchor according as they be appointed to sail by the
said order; and no ship of any of the said wards or wing shall presume
to come to an anchor before the admiral of the said ward.

2. _Item_, that every captain of the said wards or wing shall be
in everything ordered by the admiral of the same.

3. _Item_, when we shall see a convenient time to fight with the
enemies our vanward shall make with their vanward if they have any;
and if they be in one company, our vanward, taking the advantage of
the wind, shall set upon their foremost rank, bringing them out of
order; and our vice-admiral shall seek to board their vice-admiral,
and every captain shall choose his equal as near as he may.

4. _Item_, the admiral of the wing shall be always in the wind
with his whole company; and when we shall join with the enemies he
shall keep still the advantage of the wind, to the intent he with his
company may the better beat off the galleys from the great ships.[2]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The articles are preceded, like the first ones, by a list of ships
or 'battle order,' showing an organisation into a vanward, main body
(battle), and one wing of oared craft. See Introductory Note, p. 19.

[2] Of the remaining seven articles, five relate to distinguishing
squadronal flags and lights as in the earlier instructions, and the last
one to the Watchword of the night. It is to be 'God save King Henry,'
and the answer, 'And long to reign over us.'




PART II

ELIZABETHAN AND JACOBEAN

SIR WALTER RALEGH, 1617



THE ELIZABETHAN ORIGIN OF RALEGH'S INSTRUCTIONS

INTRODUCTORY


No fighting instructions known to have been issued in the reign of
Elizabeth have been found, nor is there any indication that a regular
order of battle was ever laid down by the seamen-admirals of her
time.[1] Even Howard's great fleet of 1588 had twice been in action
with the Armada before it was so much as organised into squadrons. If
anything of the kind was introduced later in her reign Captain
Nathaniel Boteler, who had served in the Jacobean navy and wrote on
the subject early in the reign of Charles I, was ignorant of it. In
his _Dialogues about Sea Services_, he devotes the sixth to
'Ordering of Fleets in Sailing, Chases, Boardings and Battles,' but
although he suggests a battle order which we know was never put in
practice, he is unable to give one that had been used by an English
fleet.[2] It is not surprising. In the despatches of the Elizabethan
admirals, though they have much to say on strategy, there is not a
word of fleet-tactics, as we understand the thing. The domination of
the seamen's idea of naval warfare, the increasing handiness of ships,
the improved design of their batteries, the special progress made by
Englishmen in guns and gunnery led rapidly to the preference of
broadside gunfire over boarding, and to an exaggeration of the value
of individual mobility; and the old semi-military formations based on
small-arm fighting were abandoned.

At the same time, although the seamen-admirals did not trouble or were
not sufficiently advanced to devise a battle order to suit their new
weapon, there are many indications that, consciously or unconsciously,
they developed a tendency inherent in the broadside idea to fall in
action into a rough line ahead; that is to say, the practice was
usually to break up into groups as occasion dictated, and for each
group to deliver its broadsides in succession on an exposed point of
the enemy's formation. That the armed merchantmen conformed regularly
to this idea is very improbable. The faint pictures we have of their
well-meant efforts present them to us attacking in a loose throng and
masking each other's fire. But that the queen's ships did not attempt
to observe any order is not so clear. When the combined fleet of
Howard and Drake was first sighted by the Armada, it is said by two
Spanish eye-witnesses to have been _in ala_, and 'in very fine
order.' And the second of Adams's charts, upon which the famous House
of Lords' tapestries were designed, actually represents the queen's
ships standing out of Plymouth in line ahead, and coming to the attack
in a similar but already disordered formation. Still there can be no
doubt that, however far a rudimentary form of line ahead was carried
by the Elizabethans, it was a matter of minor tactics and not of a
battle order, and was rather instinctive than the perfected result of
a serious attempt to work out a tactical system. The only actual
account of a fleet formation which we have is still on the old lines,
and it was for review purposes only. Ubaldino, in his second
narrative, which he says was inspired by Drake,[3] relates that when
Drake put out of Plymouth to receive Howard 'he sallied from port to
meet him with his thirty ships in equal ranks, three ships deep,
making honourable display of his masterly and diligent handling, with
the pinnaces and small craft thrown forward as though to reconnoitre
the ships that were approaching, which is their office.' Nothing,
however, is more certain in the unhappily vague accounts of the 1588
campaign than that no such battle order as this was used in action
against the Armada.

It is not till the close of the West Indian Expedition of 1596, when,
after Hawkins and Drake were both dead, Colonel-General Sir Thomas
Baskerville, the commander of the landing force, was left in charge of
the retreating fleet, that we get any trace of a definite battle
formation. In his action off the Isla de Pinos he seems, so far as we
can read the obscure description, to have formed his fleet into two
divisions abreast, each in line ahead. The queen's ships are described
at least as engaging in succession according to previous directions
till all had had 'their course.' Henry Savile, whose intemperate and
enthusiastic defence of his commander was printed by Hakluyt, further
says: 'Our general was the foremost and so held his place until, by
order of fight, other ships were to have their turns according to his
former direction, who wisely and politicly had so ordered his vanguard
and rearward; and as the manner of it was altogether strange to the
Spaniard, so might they have been without hope of victory, if their
general had been a man of judgment in sea-fights.'

Here, then, if we may trust Savile, a definite battle order must have
been laid down beforehand on the new lines, and it is possible that in
the years which had elapsed since the Armada campaign the seamen had
been giving serious attention to a tactical system, which the absence
of naval actions prevented reaching any degree of development. Had
the idea been Baskerville's own it is very unlikely that the veteran
sea-captains on his council of war would have assented to its
adoption. At any rate we may assert that the idea of ships attacking
in succession so as to support one another without masking each
other's broadside fire (which is the essential germ of the true line
ahead) was in the air, and it is clearly on the principle that
underlay Baskerville's tactics that Ralegh's fighting instructions
were based twenty years later.[4]

These which are the first instructions known to have been issued to an
English fleet since Henry VIII's time were signed by Sir Walter Ralegh
on May 3, 1617, at Plymouth, on the eve of his sailing for his
ill-fated expedition to Guiana. Most of the articles are in the nature
of 'Articles of War' and 'Sailing Instructions' rather than 'Fighting
Instructions,' but the whole are printed below for their general
interest. A contemporary writer, quoted by Edwards in his _Life of
Ralegh_, says of them: 'There is no precedent of so godly, severe,
and martial government, fit to be written and engraven in every man's
soul that covets to do honour to his king and country in this or like
attempts.' But this cannot be taken quite literally. So far at least
as they relate to discipline, some of Ralegh's articles may be traced
back in the _Black Book of the Admiralty_ to the fourteenth
century, while the illogical arrangement of the whole points, as in
the case of the Additional Fighting Instructions of the eighteenth
century, to a gradual growth from precedent to precedent by the
accretion of expeditional orders added from time to time by individual
admirals. The process of formation may be well studied in Lord
Wimbledon's first orders, where Ralegh's special expeditional
additions will be found absorbed and adapted to the conditions of a
larger fleet. Moreover, there is evidence that, with the exception of
those articles which were designed in view of the special destination
of Ralegh's voyage, the whole of them were based on an early
Elizabethan precedent. For the history of English tactics the point
is of considerable importance, especially in view of his twenty-ninth
article, which lays down the method of attack when the weather-gage
has been secured. This has hitherto been believed to be new and
presumably Ralegh's own, in spite of the difficulty of believing that
a man entirely without experience of fleet actions at sea could have
hit upon so original and effective a tactical design. The evidence,
however, that Ralegh borrowed it from an earlier set of orders is
fairly clear.

Amongst the _Stowe MSS._ in the British Museum there is a small
quarto treatise (No. 426) entitled 'Observations and overtures for a
sea fight upon our own coasts, and what kind of order and discipline
is fitted to be used in martialling and directing our navies against
the preparations of such Spanish Armadas or others as shall at any
time come to assail us.' From internal evidence and directly from
another copy of it in the _Lansdown MSS._ (No. 213), we know it
to be the work of 'William Gorges, gentleman.' He is to be identified
as a son of Sir William Gorges, for he tells us he was afloat with his
father in the Dreadnought as early as 1578, when Sir William was
admiral on the Irish station with a squadron ordered to intercept the
filibustering expedition which Sir Thomas Stucley was about to attempt
under the auspices of Pope Gregory XIII. Sir William was a cousin of
Ralegh's and brother to Sir Arthur Gorges, who was Ralegh's captain in
the Azores expedition of 1597, and who in Ralegh's interest wrote the
account of the campaign which Purchas printed. Though William, the
son, freely quotes the experiences of the Armada campaign of 1588, he
is not known to have ever held a naval command, and he calls himself
'unexperienced.' We may take it therefore that his treatise was mainly
inspired by Ralegh, to whom indeed a large part of it is sometimes
attributed. This question, however, is of small importance. The gist
of the matter is a set of fleet orders which he has appended as a
precedent at the end of his treatise, and it is on these orders that
Ralegh's are clearly based. They commence with fourteen articles,
consisting mainly of sailing instructions, similar to those which
occur later in Ralegh's set. The fifteenth deals with fighting and
bloodshed among the crews, and the sixteenth enjoins morning and
evening prayer, with a psalm at setting the watch, and further
provides that any man absenting himself from divine service without
good cause shall suffer the 'bilboes,' with bread and water for twelve
hours. The whole of this drastic provision for improving the seamen's
morals has been struck out by a hurried and less clerkly hand, and in
the margin is substituted another article practically word for word
the same as that which Ralegh adopted as his first article. The same
hand has also erased the whole numbering of the articles up to No. 16,
and has noted that the new article on prayers is to come first.[5]
The articles which follow correspond closely both in order and
expression to Ralegh's, ending with No. 36, where Ralegh's special
articles relating to landing in Guiana begin. Ralegh's important
twenty-ninth article dealing with the method of attack is practically
identical with that of Gorges. Ralegh, however, has several articles
which are not in Gorges's set, and wherever the two sets are not word
for word the same, Ralegh's is the fuller, having been to all
appearances expanded from Gorges's precedent. This, coupled with the
fact that other corrections beside those of the prayer article are
embodied in Ralegh's articles, leaves practically no doubt that
Gorges's set was the earlier and the precedent upon which Ralegh's was
based.

An apparent difficulty in the date of Gorges's treatise need not
detain us. It was dedicated on March 16, 1618-9, to Buckingham, the
new lord high admiral, but it bears indication of having been written
earlier, and in any case the date of the dedication is no guide to the
date of the orders in the Appendix.

The important question is, how much earlier than Ralegh's are these
orders of Gorges's treatise? Can we approximately fix their date?
Certainly not with any degree of precision, but nevertheless we are
not quite without light. To begin with there is the harsh punishment
for not attending prayers, which is thoroughly characteristic of Tudor
times. Then there is an article, which Ralegh omits, relating to the
use of 'musket-arrows.' Gorges's article runs: 'If musket-arrows be
used, to have great regard that they use not but half the ordinary
charge of powder, otherwise more powder will make the arrow fly
double.' Now these arrows we know to have been in high favour for
their power of penetrating musket-proof defences about the time of the
Armada. They were a purely English device, and were taken by Richard
Hawkins upon his voyage to the South Sea in 1593. He highly commends
them, but nevertheless they appear to have fallen out of fashion, and
no trace of their use in Jacobean times has been found.[6]

A still more suggestive indication exists in the heading which is
prefixed to Gorges's Appendix. It runs as follows:--'A form of orders
and directions to be given by an admiral in conducting a fleet through
the Narrow Seas for the better keeping together or relieving one
another upon any occasion of distress or separation by weather or by
giving chase. For the understanding whereof suppose that a fleet of
his majesty's consisting of twenty or thirty sail were bound for
serving on the west part of Ireland, as Kinsale haven for example.'
The words 'his majesty' show the Appendix was penned under James I;
but why did Gorges select this curious example for explaining his
orders? We can only remember that it was exactly upon such an occasion
that he had served with his father in 1578. There is therefore at
least a possibility that the orders in question may be a copy or an
adaptation of some which Sir William Gorges had issued ten years
before the Armada. Certainly no situation had arisen since Elizabeth's
death to put such an idea into the writer's head, and the points of
rendezvous mentioned in Gorges's first article are exactly those which
Sir William would naturally have given.

On evidence so inconclusive no certainty can be attained. All we can
say is that Gorges's Appendix points to a possibility that Ralegh's
remarkable twenty-ninth article may have been as old as the middle of
Elizabeth's reign, and that the reason why it has not survived in the
writings of any of the great Elizabethan admirals is either that the
tactics it enjoins were regarded as a secret of the seamen's 'mystery'
or were too trite or commonplace to need enunciation. At any rate in
the face of the Gorges precedent it cannot be said, without
reservation, that this rudimentary form of line ahead or attack in
succession was invented by Ralegh, or that it was not known to the men
who fought the Armada.

Amongst other articles of special interest, as showing how firmly the
English naval tradition was already fixed, should be noticed the
twenty-fifth, relating to seamen gunners, the twenty-sixth, forbidding
action at more than point-blank range, and above all the fifth and
sixth, aimed at obliterating all distinction between soldiers and
sailors aboard ship, and at securing that unity of service between the
land and sea forces which has been the peculiar distinction of the
national instinct for war.

As to the tactical principle upon which the Elizabethan form of attack
was based, it must be noted that was to demoralise the enemy--to drive
him into 'utter confusion.' The point is important, for this
conception of tactics held its place till it was ultimately supplanted
by the idea of concentrating on part of his fleet.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Hakluyt printed several sets of instructions issued to armed fleets
intended for discovery, viz.: 1. Those drawn by Sebastian Cabota for Sir
Hugh Willoughby's voyage in 1553. 2. Those for the first voyage of
Anthony Jenkinson, 1557, which refers to other standing orders. 3. Those
issued by the lords of the Council for Edward Fenton in 1582, the 20th
article of which directs him to draw up orders 'for their better
government both at sea and land.' But none of these contain any fighting
instructions.

[2] Boteler's MS. was not published till 1685, when the publisher
dedicated it to Samuel Pepys. The date at which it was written can only
be inferred from internal evidence. At p. 47 he refers to 'his Majesty's
late augmentation of seamen's pay in general.' Such an augmentation took
place in 1625 and 1626. He also refers to the 'late king' and to the
colony of St. Christopher's, which was settled in 1623, but not to that
of New Providence, settled in 1629. He served in the Cadiz Expedition of
1625, but does not mention it or any event of the rest of the war. The
battle order, however, which he recommends closely resembles that
proposed by Sir E. Cecil (_post_, p. 65). The probability is, then, that
his work was begun at the end of James I's reign, and was part of the
large output of military literature to which the imminent prospect of
war with Spain gave rise at that time.

[3] See _Drake and the Tudor Navy_, ii. Appendix B.

[4] See Article 1 of the Instructions of 1816, _post_, p. 342.

[5] In all previous English instructions the prayer article had come
towards the end. In the Spanish service it came first, and it was thence
probably that Ralegh got his idea.

[6] Laughton, _Defeat of the Armada_, i. 126; _Account, &c_.
(_Exchequer, Queen's Remembrancer_), lxiv. 9, April 9, 1588; Hawkins's
_Observations_ (Hakl. Soc), Sec. lxvi.



_SIR WALTER RALEGH_, 1617.[1]

[+State Papers Domestic xcii. f. 9+.]

_Orders to be observed by the commanders of the fleet and land
companies under the charge and conduct of Sir Walter Ralegh, Knight,
bound for the south parts of America or elsewhere_.

_Given at Plymouth in Devon, the 3rd of May, 1617_.


First. Because no action nor enterprise can prosper, be it by sea or
by land, without the favour and assistance of Almighty God, the Lord
and strength of hosts and armies, you shall not fail to cause divine
service to be read in your ship morning and evening, in the morning
before dinner, and in the evening before supper, or at least (if there
be interruption by foul weather) once in the day, praising God every
night with the singing of a psalm at the setting of the watch.

2. You shall take especial care that God be not blasphemed in your
ship, but that after admonition given, if the offenders do not reform
themselves, you shall cause them of the meaner sort to be ducked at
yard-arm; and the better sort to be fined out of their adventure. By
which course if no amendment be found, you shall acquaint me withal,
delivering me the names of the offenders. For if it be threatened in
the Scriptures that the curse shall not depart from the house of the
swearer, much less shall it depart from the ship of the swearer.

3. Thirdly, no man shall refuse to obey his officer in all that he is
commanded for the benefit of the journey. No man being in health shall
refuse to watch his turn as he shall be directed, the sailors by the
master and boatswain, the landsmen by their captain, lieutenant, or
other officers.

4. You shall make in every ship two captains of the watch, who shall
make choice of two soldiers every night to search between the decks
that no fire or candlelight be carried about the ship after the watch
be set, nor that any candle be burning in any cabin without a lantern;
and that neither, but whilst they are to make themselves unready. For
there is no danger so inevitable as the ship firing, which may also as
well happen by taking of tobacco between the decks, and therefore [it
is] forbidden to all men but aloft the upper deck.

5. You shall cause all your landsmen to learn the names and places of
the ropes, that they may assist the sailors in their labour upon the
decks, though they cannot go up to the tops and yards.

*6. You shall train and instruct your sailors, so many as shall be
found fit, as you do your landsmen, and register their names in the
list of your companies, making no difference of professions, but that
all be esteemed sailors and all soldiers, for your troops will be very
weak when you come to land without the assistance of your seafaring
men.

7. You shall not give chase nor send abroad any ship but by order from
the general, and if you come near any ship in your course, if she be
belonging to any prince or state in league or amity with his majesty,
you shall not take anything from them by force, upon pain to be
punished as pirates; although in manifest extremity you may (agreeing
for the price) relieve yourselves with things necessary, giving bonds
for the same. Provided that it be not to the disfurnishing of any such
ship, whereby the owner or merchant be endangered for the ship or
goods.

*8. You shall every night fall astern the general's ship, and follow
his light, receiving instructions in the morning what course to
hold. And if you shall at any time be separated by foul weather, you
shall receive billets sealed up, the first to be opened on this side
the North Cape,[2] if there be cause, the second to be opened beyond
the South Cape,[3] the third after you shall pass 23 degrees, and the
fourth from the height of Cape Verd.[4]

9. If you discover any sail at sea, either to windward or to leeward
of the admiral, or if any two or three of our fleet shall discover any
such like sail which the admiral cannot discern, if she be a great
ship and but one, you shall strike your main topsail and hoist it
again so often as you judge the ship to be hundred tons of burthen; or
if you judge her to be 200 tons to strike and hoist twice; if 300 tons
thrice, and answerable to your opinion of her greatness.

*10. If you discover a small ship, you shall do the like with your
fore topsail; but if you discover many great ships you shall not only
strike your main topsail often, but put out your ensign in the
maintop. And if such fleet or ship go large before the wind, you shall
also after your sign given go large and stand as any of the fleet
doth: I mean no longer than that you may judge that the admiral and
the rest have seen your sign and you so standing. And if you went
large at the time of the discovery you shall hale of your sheets for a
little time, and then go large again that the rest may know that you
go large to show us that the ship or fleet discovered keeps that
course.

*11. So shall you do if the ship or fleet discovered have her tacks
aboard, namely, if you had also your tacks aboard at the time of the
discovery, you shall bear up for a little time, and after hale your
sheets again to show us what course the ship or fleet holds.

*12. If you discover any ship or fleet by night, if the ship or fleet
be to windward of you, and you to windward of the admiral, you shall
presently bear up to give us knowledge. But if you think that (did you
not bear up) you might speak with her, then you shall keep your
luff,[5] and shoot off a piece of ordnance to give us knowledge
thereby.

13. For a general rule: Let none presume to shoot off a piece of
ordnance but in discovery of a ship or fleet by night, or by being in
danger of an enemy, or in danger of fire, or in danger of sinking,
that it may be unto us all a most certain intelligence of some matter
of importance.

*14. And you shall make us know the difference by this: if you give
chase and being near a ship you shall shoot to make her strike, we
shall all see and know that you shoot to that end if it be by day; if
by night, we shall then know that you have seen a ship or fleet none
of our company; and if you suspect we do not hear the first piece then
you may shoot a second, but not otherwise, and you must take almost a
quarter of an hour between your two pieces.

*15. If you be in danger of a leak--I mean in present danger--you
shall shoot off two pieces presently one after another, and if in
danger of fire, three pieces presently one after another; but if there
be time between we will know by your second piece that you doubt that
we do not hear your first piece, and therefore you shoot a second, to
wit by night, and give time between.

16. There is no man that shall strike any officer be he captain,
lieutenant, ensign, sergeant, corporal of the field,[6]
quartermaster, &c.

17. Nor the master of any ship, master's mate, or boatswain, or
quartermaster. I say no man shall strike or offer violence to any of
these but the supreme officer to the inferior, in time of service,
upon pain of death.

18. No private man shall strike another, upon pain of receiving such
punishment as a martial court[7] shall think him worthy of.

19. If any man steal any victuals, either by breaking into the hold or
otherwise, he shall receive the punishment as of a thief or murderer
of his fellows.

20. No man shall keep any feasting or drinking between meals, nor
drink any healths upon your ship's provisions.

21. Every captain by his purser, stewards, or other officers shall
take a weekly account how his victuals waste.

22. The steward shall not deliver any candle to any private man nor
for any private use.

23. Whosoever shall steal from his fellows either apparel or anything
else shall be punished as a thief.

24. In foul weather every man shall fit his sails to keep company with
the fleet, and not run so far ahead by day but that he may fall astern
the admiral by night.

25. In case we shall be set upon by sea, the captain shall appoint
sufficient company to assist the gunners; after which, if the fight
require it, in the cabins between the decks shall be taken down [and]
all beds and sacks employed for bulwarks.[8]

*The musketeers of every ship shall be divided under captains or other
officers, some for the forecastle, others for the waist, and others
for the poop, where they shall abide if they be not otherwise
directed.[9]

26. The gunners shall not shoot any great ordnance at other distance
than point blank.

27. An officer or two shall be appointed to take care that no loose
powder be carried between the decks, or near any linstock or match in
hand. You shall saw divers hogsheads in two parts, and filling them
with water set them aloft the decks. You shall divide your carpenters,
some in hold if any shot come between wind and water, and the rest
between the decks, with plates of leads, plugs, and all things
necessary laid by them. You shall also lay by your tubs of water
certain wet blankets to cast upon and choke any fire.[10]

28. The master and boatswain shall appoint a certain number of sailors
to every sail, and to every such company a master's mate, a
boatswain's mate or quartermaster; so as when every man knows his
charge and his place things may be done without noise or confusion,
and no man [is] to speak but the officers. As, for example, if the
master or his mate bid heave out the main topsail, the master's mate,
boatswain's mate or quartermaster which hath charge of that sail shall
with his company perform it, without calling out to others and without
rumour[11], and so for the foresail, fore topsail, spritsail and the
rest; the boatswain himself taking no particular charge of any sail,
but overlooking all and seeing every man to do his duty.

29. No man shall board his enemy's ship without order, because the
loss of a ship to us is of more importance than the loss of ten ships
to the enemy, as also by one man's boarding all our fleet may be
engaged; it being too great a dishonour to lose the least of our
fleet. But every ship, if we be under the lee of an enemy, shall
labour to recover the wind if the admiral endeavours it. But if we
find an enemy to be leewards of us, the whole fleet shall follow the
admiral, vice-admiral, or other leading ship within musket shot of the
enemy; giving so much liberty to the leading ship as after her
broadside delivered she may stay and trim her sails. Then is the
second ship to tack as the first ship and give the other side, keeping
the enemy under a perpetual shot. This you must do upon the windermost
ship or ships of an enemy, which you shall either batter in pieces, or
force him or them to bear up and so entangle them, and drive them foul
one of another to their utter confusion[12].

30. The musketeers, divided into quarters of the ship, shall not
deliver their shot but at such distance as their commanders shall
direct them.

31. If the admiral give chase and be headmost man, the next ship shall
take up his boat, if other order be not given. Or if any other ship be
appointed to give chase, the next ship (if the chasing ship have a
boat at her stern) shall take it.

32. If any make a ship to strike, he shall not enter her until the
admiral come up.

33. You shall take especial care for the keeping of your ships clean
between the decks, [and] to have your ordnance ready in order, and not
cloyed with chests and trunks.

34. Let those that have provision of victual deliver it to the
steward, and every man put his apparel in canvas cloak bags, except
some few chests which do not pester the ship.

35. Everyone that useth any weapon of fire, be it musket or other
piece, shall keep it clean, and if he be not able to amend it being
out of order, he shall presently acquaint his officer therewith, who
shall command the armourer to mend it.

36. No man shall play at cards or dice either for his apparel or arms
upon pain of being disarmed and made a swabber of the ship.

*37. Whosoever shall show himself a coward upon any landing or
otherwise, he shall be disarmed and made a labourer or carrier of
victuals for the rest.

*38. No man shall land any man in any foreign ports without order from
the general, by the sergeant-major[13] or other officer, upon pain of
death.

*39. You shall take especial care when God shall send us to land in
the Indies, not to eat of any fruit unknown, which fruit you do not
find eaten with worms or beasts under the tree.

*40. You shall avoid sleeping on the ground, and eating of new fish
until it be salted two or three hours, which will otherwise breed a
most dangerous flux; so will the eating of over-fat hogs or fat
turtles.

*41. You shall take care that you swim not in any rivers but where you
see the Indians swim, because most rivers are full of alligators.

*42. You shall not take anything from any Indian by force, for if you
do it we shall never from thenceforth be relieved by them, but you
must use them with all courtesy. But for trading and exchanging with
them, it must be done by one or two of every ship for all the rest,
and those to be directed by the cape merchant[14] of the ship,
otherwise all our commodities will become of vile price, greatly to
our hindrance.

*43. For other orders on the land we will establish them (when God
shall send us thither) by general consent. In the meantime I shall
value every man, honour the better sort, and reward the meaner
according to their sobriety and taking care for the service of God and
prosperity of our enterprise.

*44. When the admiral shall hang out a flag in the main shrouds, you
shall know it to be a flag of council. Then come aboard him.

*45. And wheresoever we shall find cause to land, no man shall force
any woman be she Christian or heathen, upon pain of death.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The articles marked with an asterisk do not appear in the Gorges
set, and were presumably those which Ralegh added to suit the conditions
of his expedition or which he borrowed from other precedents.

[2] Cape Finisterre.

[3] Cape St. Vincent.

[4] MS. Cape Devert.

[5] MS. 'loofe.'

[6] Corporal of the field meant the equivalent of an A.D.C. or orderly.

[7] This appears to be the first known mention of a court-martial being
provided for officially at sea.

[8] This passage is corrupt in the MS. and is restored from Wimbledon's
Article 32, _post_, p. 58.

[9] This was the Spanish practice. There is no known mention of it
earlier in the English service.

[10] Gorges's article about 'Musket-arrows' is here omitted by Ralegh.

[11] _I.e._ 'noisy confusion.' Shakspeare has 'I heard a bustling rumour
like a fray.'

[12] The corresponding article in Gorges's set (_Stowe MSS._ 426) is as
follows:--

'No man shall board any enemy's ship but by order from a principal
commander, as the admiral, vice-admiral or rear-admiral, for that by one
ship's boarding all the fleet may be engaged to their dishonour or loss.
But every ship that is under the lee of an enemy shall labour to recover
the wind if the admiral endeavour it. But if we find an enemy to leeward
of us the whole fleet shall follow the admiral, vice-admiral or other
leading ship within musket-shot of the enemy, giving so much liberty to
the leading ship, as after her broadside is delivered she may stay and
trim her sails. Then is the second ship to give her side and the third,
fourth, and rest, which done they shall all tack as the first ship and
give the other side, keeping the enemy under a perpetual volley. This
you must do upon the windermost ship or ships of the enemy, which you
shall either batter in pieces, or force him or them to bear up and so
entangle them, and drive them foul one of another to their utter
confusion.' For the evidence that this may have been drawn up and used
as early as 1578, and consequently in the Armada campaign, see
Introductory Note, _supra_, pp. 34-5.

[13] 'Sergeant-major' at this time was the equivalent to our 'chief of
the staff' or 'adjutant-general.' In the fleet orders issued by the Earl
of Essex for the Azores expedition in 1597 there was a similar article,
which Ralegh was accused of violating by landing at Fayal without
authority; it ran as follows:--'No captain of any ship nor captain of
any company if he be severed from the fleet shall land without direction
from the general or some other principal commander upon pain of death,'
&c. Ralegh met the charge by pleading he was himself a 'principal
commander.'--Purchas, iv. 1941.

[14] This expression has not been found elsewhere. It may stand for
'chap merchant,' _i.e._ 'barter-merchant.'




PART III

CAROLINGIAN

I. VISCOUNT WIMBLEDON, 1625

II. THE EARL OF LINDSEY, 1635



THE ATTEMPT TO APPLY LAND FORMATIONS TO THE FLEET, 1625

INTRODUCTORY


From the point of view of command perhaps the most extraordinary naval
expedition that ever left our shores was that of Sir Edward Cecil,
Viscount Wimbledon, against Cadiz in 1625. Every flag officer both of
the fleet and of the squadrons was a soldier. Cecil himself and the
Earl of Essex, his vice-admiral, were Low Country colonels of no great
experience in command even ashore, and Lord Denbigh, the rear-admiral,
was a nobleman of next to none at all. Even Cecil's captain, who was
in effect 'captain of the fleet,' was Sir Thomas Love, a sailor of
whose service nothing is recorded, and the only seaman of tried
capacity who held a staff appointment was Essex's captain, Sir Samuel
Argall. It was probably due to this recrudescence of military
influence in the navy that we owe the first attempt to establish a
regular order of battle since the days of Henry VIII.

These remarkable orders appear to have been an after-thought, for they
were not proposed until a day or two after the fleet had sailed. The
first orders issued were a set of general instructions, 'for the
better government of the fleet' dated October 3, when the fleet was
still at Plymouth.

They were, it will be seen, on the traditional lines. Those used by
Ralegh are clearly the precedent upon which they were drawn, and in
particular the article relating to engaging an enemy's fleet follows
closely that recommended by Gorges, with such modifications as the
squadronal organisation of a large fleet demanded. On October 9, the
day the fleet got to sea, a second and more condensed set of 'Fighting
Instructions' was issued, which is remarkable for the modification it
contains of the method of attack from windward.[1] For instead of an
attack by squadrons it seems to contemplate the whole fleet going into
action in succession after the leading ship, an order which has the
appearance of another advance towards the perfected line.

Two days later however the fleet was becalmed, and Cecil took the
opportunity of calling a council to consider a wholly new set of
'Fighting Instructions' which had been drafted by Sir Thomas Love.
This step we are told was taken because Cecil considered the original
articles provided no adequate order of battle such as he had been
accustomed to ashore. The fleet had already been divided into three
squadrons, the Dutch contingent forming a fourth, but beyond this, we
are told, nothing had been done 'about the form of a sea fight.' Under
the new system it will be seen each of the English squadrons was to be
further divided into three sub-squadrons of nine ships, and these
apparently were to sail three deep, as in Drake's parade formation of
1588, and were to 'discharge and fall off three and three as they were
filed in the list,' or order of battle. That is, instead of the ships
of each squadron attacking in succession as the previous orders had
enjoined, they were to act in groups of three, with a reserve in
support. The Dutch, it was expressly provided, were not to be bound by
these orders, but were to be free 'to observe their own order and
method of fighting.' What this was is not stated, but there can be no
doubt that the reference is to the boarding tactics which the Dutch,
in common with all continental navies, continued to prefer to the
English method of first overpowering the enemy with the guns. This
proviso, in view of the question as to what country it was that first
perfected a single line ahead, should be borne in mind.

As appears from the minutes of the council of war, printed below,
Love's revolutionary orders met with strong opposition. Still, so
earnest was Cecil in pressing them, and so well conceived were many of
the articles that they were not entirely rejected, but were recognised
as a counsel of perfection, which, though not binding, was to be
followed as near as might be. Their effect upon the officers, or some
of them, was that they understood the 'order of fight' to be as
follows:--'The several admirals to be in square bodies' (that is, each
flag officer would command a division or sub-squadron formed in three
ranks of three files), 'and to give their broadsides by threes and so
fall off. The rear-admiral to stand for a general reserve, and not to
engage himself without great cause.'[2] The confusion, however, must
have been considerable and the difference of opinion great as to how
far the new orders were binding; for the 'Journal of the Vanguard'
merely notes that a council was called on the 11th 'wherein some
things were debated touching the well ordering of the fleet,' and with
this somewhat contemptuous entry the subject is dismissed.

Still it must be said that on the whole these orders are a great
advance over anything we know of in Elizabethan times, and
particularly in the careful provisions for mutual support they point
to a happy reversion to the ideas which De Chaves had formulated, and
which the Elizabethans had too drastically abandoned.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] 'Journal of the Vanguard' (Essex's flagship), and Cecil to Essex,
_S.P. Dom. Car. I_, xi.

[2] 'Journal of the Expedition,' _S. P. Dom. Car., I_, x. 67.



_LORD WIMBLEDON_, 1625, _No._ 1, _Oct._ 3.

[+State Papers Domestic, Car. I, ix.+]


_A copy of those instructions which were sent unto the Earl of Essex
and given by Sir Edward Cecil, Knight, admiral of the fleet,
lieutenant-general and marshal of his majesty's land force now at sea,
to be duly performed by all commanders, and their captains and
masters, and other inferior officers, both by sea and land, for the
better government of his majesty's fleet. Dated in the Sound of
Plymouth, aboard his majesty's good ship the Anne Royal, the third of
October_, 1625.

1. First above all things you shall provide that God be duly served
twice every day by all the land and sea companies in your ship,
according to the usual prayers and liturgy of the Church of England,
and shall set and discharge every watch with the singing of a psalm
and prayer usual at sea.

2. You shall keep the company from swearing, blaspheming, drunkenness,
dicing, carding, cheating, picking and stealing, and the like
disorders.

3. You shall take care to have all your company live orderly and
peaceable, and shall charge your officers faithfully to perform their
office and duty of his and their places. And if any seaman or soldier
shall raise tumult, mutiny or conspiracy, or commit murder, quarrel,
fight or draw weapon to that end, or be a sleeper at his watch, or
make noise, or not betake himself to his place of rest after his watch
is out, or shall not keep his cabin cleanly, or be discontented with
the proportion of victuals assigned unto him, or shall spoil or waste
them or any other necessary provisions in the ships, or shall not keep
clean his arms, or shall go ashore without leave, or shall be found
guilty of any other crime or offence, you shall use due severity in
the punishment or reformation thereof according to the known orders of
the sea.

4. For any capital or heinous offence that shall be committed in your
ship by the land or sea men, the land and sea commanders shall join
together to take a due examination thereof in writing, and shall
acquaint me therewith, to the end that I may proceed in judgment
according to the quality of the offence.

5. No sea captain shall meddle with the punishing of any land
soldiers, but shall leave them to their commanders; neither shall the
land commanders meddle with the punishing of the seamen.

6. You shall with the master take a particular account of the stores
of the boatswain and carpenters of the ship, examining their receipts,
expenses and remains, not suffering any unnecessary waste to be made
of their provisions, or any work to be done which shall not be needful
for the service.

7. You shall every week take the like account of the purser and
steward of the quantity and quality of victuals that are spent, and
provide for the preservation thereof without any superfluous
expense. And if any person be in that office suspected[1] for the
wasting and consuming of victuals, you shall remove him and acquaint
me thereof, and shall give me a particular account from time to time
of the expense, goodness, quantity and quality of your victuals.

8. You shall likewise take a particular account of the master gunner
for the shot, powder, munition and all other manner of stores
contained in his indenture, and shall not suffer any part thereof to
be sold, embezzled or wasted, nor any piece of ordnance to be shot off
without directions, keeping also an account of every several piece
shot off in your ship, to the end I may know how the powder is spent.

9. You shall suffer no boat to go from your ship without special leave
and upon necessary causes, to fetch water or some other needful thing,
and then you shall send some of your officers or men of trust, for
whose good carriage and speedy return you will answer.

10. You shall have a special care to prevent the dreadful accident of
fire, and let no candles be used without lanterns, nor any at all in
or about the powder room. Let no tobacco be taken between the decks,
or in the cabins or in any part of the ship, but upon the forecastle
or upper deck, where shall stand tubs of water for them to throw their
ashes into and empty their pipes.

11. Let no man give offence to his officer, or strike his equal or
inferior on board, and let mutinous persons be punished in most severe
manner.

12. Let no man depart out of his ship in which he is first entered
without leave of his commander, and let no captain give him
entertainment after he is listed, upon pain of severity of the law in
that case.

13. If any fire should happen in your ship, notwithstanding your care
(which God forbid!), then you shall shoot off two pieces of ordnance,
one presently after the other, and if it be in the night you shall
hang out four lanterns with lights upon the yards, that the next ships
to you may speed to succour you.

14. If the ship should happen to spend a mast, or spring a leak, which
by increasing upon you may grow to present danger, then you shall
shoot off two pieces of ordnance, the one a good while after the
other, and hang out two lights on the main shrouds, the one a man's
height over the other, so as they may be discernible.

15. If the ship should happen to ran on ground upon any danger (which
God forbid!) then you shall shoot off four pieces of ordnance
distinctly, one after the other; if in the night, hang out as many
lights as you can, to the end the fleet may take notice thereof.

16. You shall favour your topmasts and the head of your mainmast by
bearing indifferent sail, especially in foul weather and in a head sea
and when your ship goeth by the wind; lest, by the loss of a mast upon
a needless adventure, the service is deprived of your help when there
is greatest cause to use it.

17. The whole fleet is to be divided into three squadrons: the
admiral's squadron to wear red flags and red pennants on the main
topmast-head; the vice-admiral's squadron to wear blue flags and blue
pennants on the fore topmast-heads; the rear-admiral's squadron to
wear white flags and white pennants on the mizen topmast-heads.[2]

18. The admirals and officers are to speak with me twice a day,
morning and evening, to receive my directions and commands, which the
rest of the ships are duly to perform. If I be ahead I will stay for
them, if to leeward I will bear up to them. If foul weather should
happen, you are not to come too near me or any other ship to hazard
any danger at all. And when I have hailed you, you are to fall
astern, that the rest of the ships in like manner may come up to
receive my commands.

19. You shall make in every ship two captains of the watch, or more
(if need be), who shall make choice of soldiers or seamen to them to
search every watch in the night between the decks, that no fire or
candle be carried about the ship after the watch is set, nor that no
candle be burning in any cabin without a lantern, nor that neither but
whilst they are making themselves ready, and to see the fire put out
in the cook's room, for there is no danger so inevitable as the ship's
firing.

20. You shall cause the landmen to learn the names and places of the
ropes that they may assist the sailors in their labours upon the
decks, though they cannot go up to the tops and yards.

21. You shall train and instruct such sailors and mariners as shall be
found fit to the use of the musket, as you do your landmen, and
register their names in a list by themselves, making no difference for
matter of discipline between the sailors and soldiers aboard you.

22. You shall not give chase nor send aboard any ship but by order
from me, or my vice-admiral or rear-admiral; and if you come near any
ship in your course belonging to any prince or state you shall only
make stay of her, and bring her to me or the next officer, without
taking anything from them or their companies by force, but shall
charge all your company from pillaging between decks or breaking up
any hold, or embezzling any goods so seized and taken, upon pain of
severity of the law in that case.

23. You shall fall astern of me and the admirals of your several
squadrons unto the places assigned unto you, and follow their lights
as aforesaid, receiving such instructions from me or them in the
morning what course to hold. And if you shall at any time be separated
from the fleet by foul weather, chase or otherwise, you shall shape
your course for the southward cape upon the coast of Spain in the
latitude of 37, one of the places of rendezvous; if you miss me there,
then sail directly for the Bay of Cales or St. Lucar, which is the
other place assigned for rendezvous.

24. You must have a special care in times of calms and foggy weather
to give such a berth one unto the other as to keep your ships clear,
and not come foul one of another. Especially in fogs and mists you
shall sound with drum or trumpet, or make a noise with your men, or
shoot off muskets, to give warning to other ships to avoid the danger
of boarding or coming foul one of another.

25. If you or any other two or three of the fleet discover any sail at
sea to the windward or leeward of the admiral, which the admiral
cannot discern, if she be a great ship you shall signify the same by
striking or hoisting of your main topsail so often as you conceive the
ship to be hundred tons of burthen; and if you discover a small ship
you shall give the like signs by striking your fore topsail; but if
you discover many ships you shall strike your main topsail often and
put out your ensign in the maintop; and if such ship or fleet go large
before the wind, you shall after your sign given do the like, till you
perceive that the admiral and the rest of the squadrons have seen your
sign and your so standing; and if you went large at the time of
discovery of such ship or fleet, you shall for a little time hale aft
your sheets and then go large again, that the rest of the fleet and
squadrons may know that you go large to show that the ship or fleet
discovered keeps that course.

26. If the ship or fleet discovered have their tacks aboard and stand
upon a wind, then if you had your tack aboard at the time of the
discovery you shall bear up for a little time, and after hale aft your
sheets again to show us what course the ship or fleet holdeth.

27. If you discover any ship or fleet by night, and they be [to]
windward of you, the general or admirals, you shall presently bear up
to give us knowledge if you can speak with her; if not, you may keep
your luff and shoot off a piece of ordnance by which we shall know you
give chase, to the end that the rest may follow accordingly.

28. For a general rule let no man presume to shoot off any pieces of
ordnance but in discovery of ships or fleet by night, or being in
danger of the enemy, or of fire, or of sinking, that it may be unto us
a most certain intelligence of some matter of importance.

29. If any man shall steal any victuals by breaking into the hold or
otherwise, he shall receive the punishment of a thief and murderer of
his fellows.

30. No man shall keep any feasting or drinking between meals, or drink
any health upon the ship's provisions; neither shall the steward
deliver any candle to any private man or for any private use.

31. In foul weather every man shall set his sail to keep company with
the rest of the fleet, and not run too far ahead by day but that he
may fall astern the admiral before night.

32. In case the fleet or any part of us should be set upon, the
sea-captain shall appoint sufficient company to assist the gunners,
after which (if the fight require it) the cabins between the decks
shall be taken down, [and] all beds and sacks employed for
bulwarks. The musketeers of every ship shall be divided under captains
or other officers, some for the forecastle, some for the waist, and
others for the poop, where they shall abide if they be not otherwise
directed.

33. An officer or two shall be appointed to take care that no loose
powder be carried between [the decks] nor near any linstock or match
in hand. You shall saw divers hogsheads in two parts, and, filling
them with water, set them aloft the decks. You shall divide your
carpenters, some in hold, if any shot come between wind and water, and
the rest between the decks, with plates of lead, plugs and all things
necessary laid by them. You shall also lay by your tubs of water
certain wet blankets, to cast upon and cloak any fire.

34. The master and boatswain shall appoint a convenient number of
sailors to every sail, and to every such company a master's mate or a
quartermaster, so as when every man knows his charge and his place,
things may be done without noise or confusion; and no man [is] to
speak but the officers.

35. No man shall board any enemy's ship, especially such as command
the king's ships, without special order from me. The loss of one of
our ships will be an encouragement to the enemy, and by that means our
fleet may be engaged, it being a great dishonour to lose the least of
our fleet. If we be under the lee of an enemy, every squadron and ship
shall labour to recover the wind (if the admiral endeavour it). But if
we find an enemy to leeward of us the whole fleet shall follow in
their several places, the admirals with the head of the enemy, the
vice-admirals with the body, and the rear-admirals with the sternmost
ships of the chase, (or other leading ships which shall be appointed)
within musket-shot of the enemy, giving so much liberty to the leading
ship as after her broadside[3] delivered she may stay and trim her
sails; then is the second ship to give her side, and the third and
fourth, with the rest of that division; which done they shall all tack
as the first ship and give their other sides, keeping the enemy under
perpetual volley. This you must do upon the windermost ship or ships
of an enemy, which you shall either batter in pieces, or force him or
them to bear up, and so entangle them or drive them foul one of
another to their utter confusion.

36. Your musketeers, divided into quarters of the ship, shall not
discharge their shot but at such a distance as their commanders shall
direct them.

37. If the admiral or admirals give chase, and be the headmost man,
the next ship shall take up his boat if other order be not given, or
if any other ship be appointed to give chase, the next ship (if the
[4] chasing ship have[5] a boat at her stern) shall take it.

38. Whosoever shall show himself a coward upon any landing or
otherwise, he shall be disarmed and made a labourer or carrier of
victuals for the army.

39. No man shall land anywhere in any foreign parts without order from
me, or by the sergeant-major or other officer upon pain of death.

40. Wheresoever we shall land no man shall force any woman upon pain
of death.

41. You shall avoid sleeping upon the ground and the drinking of new
wines, and eating new fruits, and fresh fish until it has been salted
three hours, and also forbear sleeping upon the deck in the night
time, for fear of the serene[6] that falls, all which will breed
dangerous fluxes and diseases.

42. When the admiral shall hang out the arms of England in the mizen
shrouds, then shall the council of war come aboard; and when that
shall be taken in and the St. George hung in the main shrouds, that is
for a general council.[7]

For any orders upon the land (if God send us thither) we shall
establish them. For matter of sailing or discipline at sea if there be
cause you shall receive other directions, to which I refer you.

Likewise it is ordered between the seamen and the landmen that after
the captain of the ship is cabined, he shall if possible lodge the
captain of the foot in the same cabin, after the master of the ship is
cabined the lieutenant, and after the master's mates the ensign.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] MS. 'if any suspected persons be in that office,' &c.

[2] This is the first known occasion of red, blue and white flags being
used to distinguish squadrons, though the idea was apparently suggested
in Elizabeth's time. See _Navy Records Society, Miscellany_, i. p. 30.

[3] MS. has 'to the leading ships as after their broadside,' &c.

[4] MS. 'a'

[5] MS. 'with.'

[6] Spanish _'sereno,'_ the cold evening air.

[7] The 'council of war' was composed of the flag officers and the
colonels of regiments. Sir Thos. Love was also a member of it, but
probably as treasurer of the expedition and not as flag captain. The
'general council' included besides all captains of ships and the
masters.



_LORD WIMBLEDON_, 1625, _No._ 2, _October_ 11.

[+State Papers Domestic, Charles I, xi.+]


_Instructions when we come to fight with an enemy, sent by the
Lieutenant-General unto the Earl of Essex_.

1. That you shall see the admiral make way to the admiral enemy, so
likewise the vice-admiral and the rear-admiral, and then every ship
[is] to set upon the next according to his order, yet to have such a
care that those that come after may be ready to second one another
after the manner here following.

2. If we happen to be encountered by an enemy at sea, you shall then
appoint a sufficient company to assist the gunners. You shall pull
down all the cabins betwixt the decks and use the beds and sacks for
bulwarks, and shall appoint your muskets to several officers, some to
make good the forecastle, some the waist, and others abaft the mast,
from whence they shall not stir till they be otherwise directed,
neither shall they or the gunners shoot a shot till they be commanded
by the captain.

3. You shall appoint a certain number of mariners to stand by sails
and maintops, that every of them knowing his place and duty there be
no confusion or disorder in the command; and shall divide carpenters
some in hold, some betwixt the decks, with plates of lead, plugs and
other things necessary for stopping up breaches made with great shot;
and saw divers hogsheads in halves and set them upon the deck full of
water, with wet blankets by them to cloak and quench any fire that
shall happen in the fight.

4. No man shall board any enemy's ships without special order, but
every ship if we be to leeward shall labour to recover the wind. If we
be to windward of them, then shall the whole fleet, or so many of them
as shall be appointed, follow the leading ship within musket-shot of
the enemy, and give them first the chase pieces, then the broadside,
afterwards a volley of small shot; and when the headmost ship hath
done, the next ship shall observe the same course, and so every ship
in order, that the headmost may be ready to renew the fight against
such time as the sternmost hath made an end; by that means keeping the
weather of the enemy and in continual fight till they be sunk in the
sea, or forced by bearing up to entangle themselves, and to come
[foul] one of another to their utter confusion.



_LORD WIMBLEDON_, 1625, _No._ 3.

[+The Earl of St. Germans's MS. Extract+.[1]]

_At a Council of War holden aboard the Anne Royal, Tuesday, the 11th
of October_, 1625.


The council, being assembled, entered into consultation touching the
form of a sea-fight performed against any fleet or ships of the King
of Spain or other enemy, and touching some directions to be observed
for better preparation to be made for such a fight and the better
managing thereof when we should come to action.

The particulars for this purpose considerable were many; insomuch that
no pertinent consultation could well be had concerning the same
without some principles in writing, whereby to direct and bound the
discourse. And therefore, by the special command of my lord
lieutenant-general, a form of articles for this service (drawn
originally by Sir Thomas Love, Kt., treasurer for this action, captain
of the Anne Royal and one of the council of war) was presented to the
assembly, and several times read over to them.

After the reading, all the parts thereof were well weighed and
examined, whereby it was observed that it intended to enjoin our fleet
to advance and fight at sea, much after the manner of an army at land,
assigning every ship to a particular division, rank, file, and
station; which order and regularity was not only improbable but almost
impossible to be observed by so great a fleet in so uncertain a place
as the sea. Hereupon some little doubt arose whether or no this form
of articles should be confirmed; but then it was alleged that the same
articles had in them many other points of direction, preparation, and
caution for a sea-fight, which were agreed by all men to be most
reasonable and necessary. And if so strict a form of proceeding to
fight were not or could not be punctually observed, yet might these
articles beget in our commanders and officers a right understanding of
the conception and intent thereof; which with an endeavour to come as
near as could be to perform, the particulars might be of great use to
keep us from confusion in the general. Neither could the limiting of
every several ship to such a rank or file [and] to such certain place
in the same, bring upon the fleet intricacy and difficulty of
proceeding, so [long] as (if the proper ships were absent or not
ready) those in the next place were left at liberty, or rather
commanded, to supply their rooms and maintain the instructions, if not
absolutely, yet as near as they could. In conclusion therefore the
form of articles which was so presented, read, and considered of, was
with some few alterations and additions ratified by my lord
lieutenant-general and by the whole council as act of theirs passed
and confirmed, and to be duly observed and put in execution by all
captains, mariners, gunners, and officers in every ship, and all
others, to whom it might appertain, at their perils, leaving only to
my lord lieutenant the naming and ranking of the ships of every
division in order as they should proceed for the execution of the same
articles; which in conclusion were these, touching the whole fleet in
general and the admiral's squadron in particular, namely:--

1. That when the fleet or ships of the enemy should be discovered the
admiral of our fleet with the ships of his squadron should put
themselves into the form undermentioned and described, namely, that
the same squadron should be separated into three divisions of nine
ships in a division, and so should advance, set forward, and charge
upon the enemy as hereafter more particularly is directed.

That these nine ships should discharge and fall off three and three,
as they are filed in this list.

Anne Royal          Admiral
Prudence            Captain Vaughan
Royal Defence       Captain Ellis.

Barbara Constance   Captain Hatch
Talbot              Captain Burdon
Abraham             Captain Downes.

Golden Cock         Captain Beaumont
Amity               Captain Malyn
Anthony             Captain Blague.

That these nine ships should second the admiral of this squadron three
and three, as they are filed in this list.

St. George          Vice-admiral
Lesser Sapphire     Captain Bond
Sea Venture         Captain Knevet.

Assurance           Captain Osborne
Camelion            Captain Seymour
Return              Captain Bonithon.

Jonathan            Captain Butler[2]
William             Captain White
Hopewell            Captain ----

That these nine ships should second the vice-admiral of this squadron
three and three, as they are filed in this list.

Convertine          Rear-admiral
Globe               Captain Stokes
Assurance of Dover  Captain Bargey.

Great               Sapphire Captain Raymond
Anne                Captain Wollaston
Jacob               Captain Gosse.

George              Captain Stevens
Hermit              Captain Turner
Mary Magdalen       Captain Cooper.

These three ships should fall into the rear of the three former
divisions, to charge where and when there should be occasion, or to
help the engaged, or supply the place of any that should be
unserviceable.

Hellen              Captain Mason
Amity of Hull       Captain Frisby
Anne Speedwell      Captain Polkenhorne.

2. That the admiral of the Dutch and his squadron should take place on
the starboard side of our admiral, and observe their own order and
method in fighting.

3. That the vice-admiral of our fleet and his squadron should make the
like division, and observe the same order and form as the admiral's
squadron was to observe, and so should keep themselves in their
several divisions on the larboard side of the admiral, and there
advance and charge if occasion were when the admiral did.

4. That the rear-admiral of the fleet and his squadron should also put
themselves into the like order of the admiral's squadron as near as it
might be, and in that form should attend for a reserve or supply. And
if any squadron, ship or ships of ours should happen to be engaged by
over-charge of the enemies, loss of masts or yards, or other main
distress needing special succour, that then the rear-admiral with all
his force, or one of his divisions proportionable to the occasion,
should come to their rescue; which being accomplished they should
return to their first order and place assigned.

5. That the distance between ship and ship in every squadron should be
such as none might hinder one another in advancing or falling off.

6. That the distance between squadron and squadron should be more or
less as the order of the enemy's fleet or ships should require,
whereof the captains and commanders of our fleet were to be very
considerate.

7. That if the enemy's approach happened to be in such sort as the
admiral of the Dutch and his squadron, or the vice-admiral of our
fleet [and] his squadron, might have opportunity to begin the fight,
it should be lawful for them to do so until the admiral could come up,
using the form, method, and care prescribed.

8. That if the enemy should be forced to bear up, or to be entangled
among themselves, whereby an advantage might be had, then our
rear-admiral and his squadron with all his divisions should lay hold
thereof and prosecute it to effect.

9. That the rear-admiral's squadron should keep most strict and
special watch to see what squadrons or ships distressed of our fleet
should need extraordinary relief, and what advantage might be had upon
the enemy, that a speedy and present course might be taken to perform
the service enjoined.

10. That if any ship or ships of the enemy should break out or fly,
the admiral of any squadron which should happen to be in the next and
most convenient place for that purpose should send out a competent
number of the fittest ships of his squadron to chase, assault, or take
such ship or ships so breaking out; but no ship should undertake such
a chase without the command of the admiral, or at leastwise the
admiral of his squadron.

11. That no man should shoot any small or great shot at the enemy till
he came at the distance of caliver or pistol shot, whereby no shot
might be made fruitless or in vain; whereof the captains and officers
in every ship should have an especial care.

12. That no man should presume or attempt to board any ship of the
enemy without special order and direction from the admiral, or at
leastwise the admiral of his squadron.

13. That if any of our fleet happened to be [to] leeward of the enemy,
every of our ships should labour and endeavour what they might to take
all opportunity to get to windward of them, and to hold that advantage
having once obtained it.

14. That the captains and officers of every ship should have an
especial care as much as in them lay to keep the enemies in continual
fight without any respite or intermission to be offered them; which,
with the advantage of the wind if it might be had, was thought the
likeliest way to enforce them to bear up and entangle themselves, or
fall foul one of another in disorder and confusion.

15. That an especial care should be had in every ship that the gunners
should load some of their pieces with case shot, handspikes, nails,
bars of iron, or with what else might do most mischief to the enemy's
men, upon every fit opportunity, and to come near and lay the ordnance
well to pass for that purpose, which would be apt to do great spoil to
the enemy.

16. That the cabins in every ship should be broken down so far as was
requisite to clear the way of the ordnance.

17. That all beds and sacks in every ship should be disposed and used
as bulwarks for defence against the shot of the enemy.

18. That there should be ten, eight, six, or four men to attend every
piece of ordnance as the master gunner should choose out and assign
them to their several places of service, that every one of them might
know what belonged properly to him to do. And that this choice and
assignation should be made with speed so as we might not be taken
unprovided.

19. That there should be one, two, or three men of good understanding
and diligence, according to the burden of every ship, forthwith
appointed to fill cartouches[3] of powder, and to carry them in cases
or barrels covered to their places assigned.

20. That the hold in every ship should be rummaged and made predy,[4]
especially by the ship's sides, and a carpenter with some man of trust
appointed to go fore and after in hold to seek for shot that may come
in under water; and that there should be provided in readiness plugs,
pieces of sheet lead, and pieces of elm board to stop all leaks that
might be found within board or without.

21. That in every ship where any soldiers were aboard the men should
be divided into two or three parts, whereof only one part should fight
at once and the rest should be in hold, to be drawn up upon occasion
to relieve and rescue the former.

22. That the men in every ship should be kept as close as reasonably
might be till the enemy's first volley of small shot should be past.

23. That the mariners in every ship should be divided and separated
into three or four parts or divisions, so as every one might know the
place where he was to perform his duty for the avoiding of confusion.

24. That the master or boatswain of every ship, by command of the
captain, should appoint a sufficient and select number of seamen to
stand by and attend the sails.

25. That more especially they should by like command appoint
sufficient helmsmen to steer the ship.

26. That the sailors and helmsmen should in no sort presume to depart
or stir from their charge.

27. That the mainyard, foreyard, and topsail sheets in every ship
should be slung, and the topsail yards if the wind were not too high;
hereby to avoid the shooting down of sails.

28. That there should be butts or hogsheads sawn into two parts filled
with salt water, set upon the upper and lower decks in several places
convenient in every ship, with buckets, gowns, and blankets to quench
and put out wild-fire or other fire if need be.

29. That if a fight began by day and continued till night, every ship
should be careful to observe the admiral of her squadron; that if the
admiral fell off and forbore the fight for the present every other
ship might do the like, repairing under her own squadron to amend
anything amiss, and be ready to charge again when the admiral should
begin.

30. That if any of the ships belonging to any squadron or division
happened to be absent or not ready in convenient time and place to
keep and make good the order herein prescribed, then every squadron
and division should maintain these directions as near as they could,
although the number of ships in every division were the less, without
attending the coming in of all the ships of every division.

31. And that these ten ships, in regard of the munition and materials
for the army and the horses which were carried in them, should attend
the rear-admiral and not engage themselves without order, but should
remain and expect such directions as might come from our admiral or
rear-admiral.

Peter Bonaventure   Captain Johnson
Sarah Bonaventure   Captain Carew
Christian           Captain Wharey
Susan and Ellen     Captain Levett
William of London   Captain Amadas
Hope                Sir Thomas Pigott, Knt.
Chestnut
Fortune
Fox
Truelove

There was no difference between the articles for the admiral's
squadron and those for the vice-admiral's and rear-admiral's, save in
the names of the ships of every division, and that their squadrons had
not any particular reserve, nor above five or six ships apiece in the
third division, for want of ships to make up the number of nine; the
munition and horse ships which belonged to their squadrons being unapt
to fight, and therefore disposed into a special division of ten ships
by themselves to attend the general reserve.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the rising of the council a motion was made to have some of the
best sailers of our fleet chosen out and assigned to lie off from the
main body of the fleet, some to sea and some to shoreward, the better
to discover, chase, and take some ships or boats of the enemy's; which
might give us intelligence touching the Plate Fleet, whether it were
come home or no, or when it would be expected and in what place, and
touching such other matters whereof we might make our best advantage.
But nothing herein was now resolved, it being conceived, as it seemed,
that we might soon enough and more opportunely consider of this
proposition and settle an order therein when we came nearer to the
enemy's coasts; so the council was dissolved.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _A Relation Touching the Fleet and Army of the King's most excellent
majesty King Charles, set forth in the first year of his highness's
reign, and touching the order, proceedings, and actions of the same
fleet and army_, by Sir John Glanville, the younger, serjeant-at-law,
and secretary to the council of war. [Printed for the Camden Society,
1883, N.S. vol. xxxii.]

[2] Elsewhere in the MS. spelt 'Boteler.' Probably Nathaniel Boteler,
author of the _Dialogues about Sea Services_.

[3] MS. 'carthouses.'

[4] MS. 'pridie'=Boteler's 'predy.' 'To make the ship predy,' he says,
is to clear for action. 'And likewise to make the hold predy is to
bestow everything handsomely there and to remove anything that may be
troublesome.'--_Dialogues_, 283.



THE SHIP-MONEY FLEETS,
_circa_ 1635

INTRODUCTORY


That Cecil's unconfirmed orders produced some impression beyond the
circle of the military flag-officers is clear. Captain Nathaniel
Boteler, in the work already cited,[1] quotes the system they
enjoined as the one he would himself adopt if he were to command a
large fleet in action. In his sixth dialogue on the 'Ordering of
Fleets,' after recommending the division of all fleets of eighty sail
and upwards into five squadrons, an organisation that was subsequently
adopted by the Dutch, he proceeds to explain his system of signals,
and the advantages of scout vessels being attached to every squadron,
especially, he says, the 'van and wings,' which looks as though the
ideas of De Chaves were still alive. Boteler's work is cast in the
form of a conversation between a landsman admiral and an experienced
sea captain, who is supposed to be instructing him. In reply to the
admiral's query about battle formations, the captain says that
'neither the whole present age [_i.e._ century] with the half of
the last have afforded any one thorough example of this kind.' In the
few actions between sailing fleets that had taken place in the
previous seventy-five years he says 'we find little or nothing as
touching the form of these fights.' Being pressed for his own ideas on
the subject, he consents to give them as follows: 'I say, then, that
wheresoever a fleet is either to give or take a battle with another
every way equal with it, every squadron of such fleet, whether they be
three in number as generally they are, or five (as we prescribed in
the beginning of the dialogue) shall do well to order and subdivide
itself into three equal divisions, with a reserve of certain ships out
of every squadron to bring up their rears, the which may amount in
number to the third part of every one of those divisions. And every
one of these (observing a due berth and distance) are in the fight to
second one another, and (the better to avoid confusion, and the
falling foul one upon another) to charge, discharge and fall off by
threes or fives, more or less, as the fleet in gross is greater or
smaller; the ships of reserve being to be instructed either to succour
and relieve any that shall be anyway engaged and in danger, or to
supply and put themselves in the place of those that shall be made
unserviceable; and this order and course to be constantly kept and
observed during the whole time of the battle.

Asked if there are no other forms he says: 'Some forms besides, and
different from this (I know well), have been found prescribed and
practised; as for a fleet which consisteth but of a few ships and
being in fight in an open sea, that it should be brought up to the
battle in one only front, with the chief admiral in the midst of them,
and on each side of him the strongest and best provided ships of the
fleet, who, keeping themselves in as convenient a distance as they
shall be able, are to have a eye and regard in the fight to all the
weaker and worser ships of the party, and to relieve and succour them
upon all occasions, and withal being near the admiral may both guard
him and aptly receive his instructions. And for a numerous fleet they
propound that it should be ordered also (when there is sea-room
sufficient) into one only front, but that the ablest and most warlike
ships should be so stationed as that the agility of the smaller ships
and the strength of the other may be communicated[2] to a mutual
relief, and for the better serving in all occasions either of chase or
charge; to which end they order that all the files of the front that
are to the windwards should be made up of the strongest and best
ships, that so they may the surer and speedier relieve all such of the
weaker ships, being to leewards of them, as shall be endangered or
anyway oppressed by any of the enemy.' All this is a clear echo of De
Chaves and the system which still obtained in all continental
navies. For a large fleet at least Boteler evidently disapproved all
tactics based on the line abreast, and preferred a system of small
groups attacking in line ahead, on Cecil's proposed system. Asked
about the campaign of 1588, he has nothing to tell of any English
formation. Of the crescent order of the Armada he says--and modern
research has fully confirmed his statement--that it was not a battle
order at all, but only a defensive sailing formation 'to keep
themselves together and in company until they might get up to be
athwart Gravelines, which was the rendezvous for their meeting with
the Prince of Parma; and in this regard this their order was
commendable.'

How far these ideas really represented current naval opinion we cannot
precisely tell, but we know that Boteler was an officer held in high
enough esteem to receive the command of the landing flotilla at Cadiz,
and to be described as 'an able and experienced sea captain.' But
whatever tendency there may have been to tactical progress under
Buckingham's inspiring personality, it must have been smothered by the
lamentable conduct of his war. Later on in the reign, in the period of
the 'Ship-money' fleets, when Charles was endeavouring to establish a
real standing navy on modern lines, we find in the Earl of Lindsey's
orders of 1635, which Monson selected for publication in his
_Tracts_, no sign of anything but tactical stagnation. The early
Tudor tradition seems to have completely re-established itself, and
Monson, who represents that tradition better than anyone, though he
approved the threefold subdivision of squadrons, thought all battle
formations for sailing ships a mistake. Writing not long after
Boteler, he says: 'Ships which must be carried by wind and sails, and
the sea affording no firm or steadfast footing, cannot be commanded to
take their ranks like soldiers in a battle by land. The weather at sea
is never certain, the winds variable, ships unequal in sailing; and
when they strictly keep their order, commonly they fall foul one of
another, and in such cases they are more careful to observe their
directions than to offend the enemy, whereby they will be brought into
disorder amongst themselves.'

Of Lindsey's orders only Article 18 is given here out of the
thirty-four which Monson prints in full. It is the only one relating
to tactics. The rest, which follow the old pattern, are the usual
medley of articles of war, sailing instructions, and general
directions for the conduct of the fleet at sea. We cannot therefore
safely assume that Article 18 fairly represents the tactical thought
of the time. It may be that Lindsey's orders were merely in the nature
of 'General Instructions,' to be supplemented by more particular
'Fighting Instructions,' as was the practice later.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Ante_, p. 27.

[2] The obsolete meaning of 'communicate' is to 'share' or
'participate,' to 'enjoy in common.'



_THE EARL OF LINDSEY_, 1635.

_Such instructions as were given in the Voyage in 1635 by the Right
Honourable Robert, Earl of Lindsey_.[1]

[+Monson's Naval Tracts, Book III. Extract+.]


Art. 18. If we happen to descry any fleet at sea which we may probably
know or conjecture designs to oppose, encounter or affront us, I will
first strive to get the wind (if I be to leeward), and so shall the
whole fleet in due order do the like. And when we shall join battle no
ship shall presume to assault the admiral, vice-admiral or
rear-admiral, but only myself, my vice-admiral or rear-admiral, if we
be able to reach them; and the other ships are to match themselves
accordingly as they can, and to secure one another as cause shall
require, not wasting their powder at small vessels or victuallers, nor
firing till they come side to side.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] This was a fleet of forty sail, designed, under colour of securing
the sovereignty of the Seas and protecting commerce against pirates, to
assist Spain as far as possible against the French and Dutch. It never
fought.




PART IV

THE FIRST DUTCH WAR

I. ENGLISH AND DUTCH ORDERS ON THE EVE OF THE WAR, 1648-52

II. ORDERS ISSUED DURING THE WAR, 1653-54



I

ENGLISH AND DUTCH ORDERS ON THE EVE OF THE WAR, 1648-53

INTRODUCTORY


From the foregoing examples it will be seen that at the advent of the
Commonwealth, which was to set on foot so sweeping a revolution in the
naval art, all attempts to formulate a tactical system had been
abandoned. This is confirmed by the following extract from the orders
issued by the Long Parliament in 1648. It was the time when the revolt
of a part of the fleet and a rising in the South Eastern counties led
the government to apprehend a naval coalition of certain foreign
powers in favour of Charles. It is printed by Granville Penn in his
_Memorials of Sir William Penn_ as having been issued in 1647,
but the original copy of the orders amongst the Penn Tracts (_Sloane
MSS._ 1709, f. 55) is marked as having been delivered on May 2,
1648, to 'Captain William Penn, captain of the Assurance frigate and
rear-admiral of the Irish Squadron.' They are clearly based on the
later precedents of Charles I, but it must be noted that Penn is told
'to expect more particular instructions' in regard to the fighting
article. We may assume therefore that the admiralty authorities
already recognised the inadequacy of the established fighting
instructions, and so soon as the pressure of that critical time
permitted intended to amplify them.

Amongst those responsible for the orders however there is no name that
can be credited with advanced views. They were signed by five members
of the Navy Committee, and at their head is Colonel Edward Mountagu,
afterwards Earl of Sandwich, but then only twenty-two years old.[1]
Whether anything further was done is uncertain. No supplementary
orders have been found bearing date previous to the outbreak of the
Dutch war. But there exists an undated set which it seems impossible
not to attribute to this period. It exists in the _Harleian
MSS._ (1247, ff. 43b), amongst a number of others which appear to
have been used by the Duke of York as precedents in drawing up his
famous instructions of 1665. To begin with it is clearly later than
the orders of 1648, upon which it is an obvious advance. Then the use
of the word 'general' for admiral, and of the word 'sign' for 'signal'
fixes it to the Commonwealth or very early Restoration. Finally,
internal evidence shows it is previous to the orders of 1653, for
those orders will be seen to be an expansion of the undated set so far
as they go, and further, while these undated orders have no mention of
the line, those of 1653 enjoin it. They must therefore lie between
1648 and 1653, and it seems worth while to give them here
conjecturally as being possibly the supplementary, or 'more particular
instructions,' which the government contemplated; particularly as this
hypothesis gains colour from the unusual form of the heading
'Instructions for the better ordering.' Though this form became fixed
from this time forward, there is, so far as is known, no previous
example of it except in the orders which Lord Wimbledon propounded to
his council of war in 1625, and those were also supplementary
articles.[2]

Be this as it may, the orders in question do not affect the position
that up to the outbreak of the First Dutch War we have no orders
enjoining the line ahead as a battle formation. Still we cannot
entirely ignore the fact that, in spite of the lack of orders on the
subject, traces of a line ahead are to be detected in the earliest
action of the war. Gibson, for instance, in his _Reminiscences_
has the following passage relating to Blake's brush with Tromp over
the honour of the flag on May 9, 1652, before the outbreak of the
war:[3] 'When the general had got half Channel over he could see the
Dutch fleet with their starboard tacks aboard standing towards him,
having the weather-gage. Upon which the general made a sign for the
fleet to tack. After which, having their starboard tacks aboard (the
general's ship, the Old James, being the southernmost and sternmost
ship in the fleet), the rest of his fleet tacking, first placed
themselves in a line ahead of the general, who after tacking hauled up
his mainsail in the brails, fitted his ship to fight, slung his yards,
and run out his lower tier of guns and clapt his fore topsail upon the
mast.' If Gibson could be implicitly trusted this passage would be
conclusive on the existence of the line formation earlier than any of
the known Fighting Instructions which enjoined it; but unfortunately,
as Dr. Gardiner pointed out, Gibson did not write his account till
1702, when he was 67. He is however to some extent corroborated by
Blake himself, who in his official despatch of May 20, relating the
incident, says that on seeing Tromp bearing down on him 'we lay by and
put ourselves into a fighting posture'--_i.e._ battle order--but
what the 'posture' was he does not say. If however this posture was
actually the one Gibson describes, we have the important fact that in
the first recorded instance of the complete line, it was taken as a
defensive formation to await an attack from windward.

The only other description we have of English tactics at this time
occurs in a despatch of the Dutch commander-in-chief in the
Mediterranean, Van Galen, in which he describes how Captain Richard
Badiley, then commanding a squadron on the station, engaged him with
an inferior force and covered his convoy off Monte Christo in August
1652. When the fleets were in contact, he says, as though he were
speaking of something that was quite unfamiliar to him, 'then every
captain bore up from leeward close to us to get into range, and so all
gave their broadsides first of the one side and then again of the
other, and then bore away with their ships before the wind till they
were ready again; and then as before with the guns of the whole
broadside they fired into my flagship, one after the other, meaning to
shoot my masts overboard.'[4] From this it would seem that Badiley
attacked in succession in the time-honoured way, and that the old
rudimentary form of the line ahead was still the ordinary practice.
The evidence however is far from strong, but really little is
needed. Experience teaches us that the line ahead formation would
never have been adopted as a standing order unless there had been some
previous practice in the service to justify it or unless the idea was
borrowed from abroad. But, as we shall see, the oft-repeated assertion
that it was imitated from the Dutch is contrary to all the evidence
and quite untenable. The only experience the framers of the order of
1653 can have had of a line ahead formation must have been in our own
service.

The clearest proof of this lies in the annexed orders which Tromp
issued on June 20, 1652, immediately before the declaration of war,
and after he had had his brush with Blake, in which, if Gibson is to
be trusted, Tromp had seen Blake's line. From these orders it is
clear that the Dutch conception of a naval action was still
practically identical with that of Lindsey's instructions of 1635,
that is, mutual support of squadrons or groups, with no trace of a
regular battle formation. In the detailed 'organisation' of the fleet
each of the three squadrons has its own three flag officers--that is
to say, it was organised, like that of Lord Wimbledon in 1625, in
three squadrons and nine sub-squadrons, and was therefore clearly
designed for group tactics. It is on this point alone, if at all, that
it can be said to show any advance on the tactics which had obtained
throughout the century, or on those which Tromp himself had adopted
against Oquendo in 1639.

Yet further proof is to be found in the orders issued by Witte
Corneliszoon de With to his captains in October 1652, as
commander-in-chief of the Dutch fleet. In these he very strictly
enjoins, as a matter of real importance, 'that they shall all keep
close up by the others and as near together as possible, to the end
that thereby they may act with united force ... and prevent any
isolation or cutting off of ships occurring in time of fight;' adding
'that it behoved them to stand by and relieve one another loyally, and
rescue such as might be hotly attacked.' This is clearly no more than
an amplification of Tromp's order of the previous June. It introduces
no new principle, and is obviously based on the time-honoured idea of
group tactics and mutual support. It is true that De Jonghe, the
learned historian of the Dutch navy, regards it as conclusive that the
line was then in use by the Dutch, because, as he says, several Dutch
captains, after the next action, were found guilty and condemned for
not having observed their instructions. But really there is nothing
in it from which a line can be inferred. It is all explained on the
theory of groups. And in spite of De Jonghe's deep research and his
anxiety to show that the line was practised by his countrymen as well
as by the English in the first Dutch War, he is quite unable to
produce any orders like the English instructions of 1653, in which a
line formation is clearly laid down.

But whether or not we can accept De Jonghe's conclusions as to the
time the line was introduced into the Dutch service, one thing is
clear enough--that he never ventured to suggest that the English
copied the idea from his own countrymen. It is evident that he found
nothing either in the Dutch archives or elsewhere even to raise such
an idea in his mind. But, on the other hand, his conspicuous
impartiality leads him to give abundant testimony that throughout
these wars thoughtful Dutch officers were continually praising the
order and precision of the English tactics, and lamenting the
blundering and confusion of their own. It may be added that Dr.
Gardiner's recent researches in the same field equally failed to
produce any document upon which we can credit the Dutch admirals with
serious tactical reforms. Even De Ruyter's improvements in squadronal
organisation consisted mainly in superseding a multiplicity of small
squadrons by a system of two or three large squadrons, divided into
sub-Squadrons, a system which was already in use with the English, and
was presumably imitated by De Ruyter, if it was indeed he who
introduced it and not Tromp, from the well-established Commonwealth
practice.[5]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The others were John Rolle, member for Truro, a merchant and
politician, who died in November 1648, and who as early as 1645 had been
proposed, though unsuccessfully, for the Navy Committee; and three less
conspicuous members of Parliament: Sir Walter Earle (of the Presbyterian
party), Giles Greene, and Alexander Bence. They were all superseded the
following year by the new Admiralty Committee of the Council of State.

[2] _Supra_, p. 63. It may also be noted that these articles are
intended for a fleet not large enough to be divided into squadrons--just
such a fleet in fact as that in which Penn was flying his flag. The
units contemplated, _e.g._ in Articles 2-4, are 'ships,' whereas in the
corresponding articles of 1653 the units are 'squadrons.'

[3] Gardiner, _Dutch War_, i. 9.

[4] This at least is what Van Galen's crabbed old Dutch seems to mean.
'Alsoo naer bij quam dat se couden toe schieter dragen, de elcken heer
onder den windt, gaven so elck hare laghe dan vinjt d'eene sijde, dan
veer van d'anden sijde, hielden alsdan met haer schepen voor den vindt
tal dat se weer claer waren, dan wast alsvooren met cannoneren van de
heele lagh en in sonderheijt op mijn onderhebbende schip vier gaven van
meeninge masten aft stengen overboort to schieten.' A copy of Van
Galen's despatch is amongst Dr. Gardiner's _Dutch War_ transcripts.

[5] See De Jonghe's introduction to his Third Book on 'The Condition of
the British and Dutch Navies at the outbreak of and during the Second
English War,' _Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewesen_, vol. ii.
part ii. pp. 132-141, and his digression on Tactics, pp. 290 _et seq._,
and p. 182 note. De Witte's order is p. 311.



_PARLIAMENTARY ORDERS_, 1648.

[+Sloane MSS. 1709, f. 55. Extract+]

_Instructions given by the Right Honourable the Committee of the
Lords and Commons for the Admiralty and Cinque Ports, to be duly
observed by all captains and officers whatsoever and common men
respectively in their fleet, provided to the glory of God, the honour
and service of Parliament, and the safety of the Kingdom of
England_. [_Fol._ 59.]


If any fleet shall be discovered at sea which may probably be
conjectured to have a purpose to encounter, oppose, or affront the
fleet in the Parliament's service, you may in that case expect more
particular directions. But for the present you are to take notice,
that in case of joining battle you are to leave it to the vice-admiral
to assail the enemy's admiral, and to match yourself as equally as you
can, to succour the rest of the fleet as cause shall require, not
wasting your powder nor shooting afar off, nor till you come side to
side.



_SUPPLEMENTARY INSTRUCTIONS,
circa_ 1650.

[+Harleian MSS. 1247, 43b. Draft unsigned+.]

_Instructions for the better ordering and managing the fleet in
fighting_.


1. Upon discovery of a fleet, receiving a sign from the general's
ship, which is putting abroad the sign made for each ship or frigate,
they are to make sail and stand with them so nigh as to gain knowledge
what they are and of what quality, how many fireships and others, and
what order the fleet is in; which being done the frigates or vessels
are to speak together and conclude on the report they are to give, and
accordingly report to the general or commander-in-chief of the
squadron, and not to engage if the enemy's ships exceed them in number
except it shall appear to them on the place that they have the
advantage.

2. At sight of the said fleet the vice-admiral or he that commands in
the second place, and the rear-admiral or he that commands in the
third place, are to make what sail they can to come up with the
admiral on each wing, as also each ship according to her quality,
giving a competent distance from each other if there be sea-room
enough.

3. As soon as they shall [see] the general engage, or [he] shall make
a sign by shooting off two guns and putting a red flag on the fore
topmast-head, that each ship shall take the best advantage they can to
engage with the enemy next unto him.

4. If any ship shall happen to be over-charged and distressed the next
ship or ships are immediately to make towards their relief and
assistance upon signal given; which signal shall be, if the admiral,
then a pennant in the fore topmast-head; the vice-admiral or commander
in the second place, a pennant in the main topmast-head; and the
rear-admiral the like.

5. In case any ship shall be distressed or disabled by loss of masts,
shot under water, or otherwise so as she is in danger of sinking or
taking, he or they are to give a signal thereof so as, the fleet
having knowledge, they may be ready to be relieved. Therefore the
flagships are to have a special care to them, that such provisions may
be made that they may not be left in distress to the mercy of the
enemy; and the signal is to be a weft[1] of the ensign of the ship so
distressed.

6. That it is the duty of the commanders and masters of all the small
frigates, ketches and smacks belonging to the fleet to know the
fireships that belong to the enemy, and accordingly by observing their
motion to do their utmost to cut off their boats (if possible), or if
opportunity serve that they lay them on board, fire and destroy them;
and to this purpose they are to keep to windward of the fleet in time
of service. But in case they cannot prevent the fireships from coming
on board us by coming between us and them, which by all means possible
they are to endeavour, that then, in such a case, they show themselves
men in such an exigent,[2] and shear aboard them, and with their
boats, grapnels, and other means clear them from us and destroy them;
which service, if honourably done, according to its merit shall be
rewarded, and the neglect thereof strictly and severely called to
account.

7. That the fireships belonging to the fleet endeavour to keep the
wind, and they with the small frigate's to be as near the great ships
as they can, and to attend the signal from the commander-in-chief and
to act accordingly.

8. If any engagement shall happen to continue until night and the
general please to anchor, that upon signal given they all anchor in as
good order as may be, the signal being as in the instructions for
sailing; and if the general please to retreat without anchoring, then
the signal to be firing two guns so nigh one the other as the report
may be distinguished, and within three minutes after to do the like
with two guns more. And the commander of this ship is to sign copies
of these instructions to all ships and other vessels of this
fleet. Given on board the ----

FOOTNOTES:

[1] See note, p. 99.
[Transcriber's note: The text for this note reads:
'_Waft_ (more correctly written _wheft_). It is any flag or ensign
stopped together at the head and middle portion, slightly rolled up
lengthwise, and hoisted at different positions at the after-part of a
ship.'--Admiral Smyth (_Sailors' Word-Book_).]

[2] 'Exigent' = exigence, emergency. Shakespeare has 'Why do you cross
me in this exigent?'--_Jul. Caes._ v. i.



_MARTEN TROMP, June_ 20, 1652.

[+Dr. Gardiner's First Dutch War, vol. i. p. 321. Extract+.]

_June_ 20/30, 1652. _The resolution of Admiral Tromp on the
distribution of the fleet in case of its being attacked_.


Each captain is expressly ordered, on penalty of 300 guilders, _to
keep near_[1] the flag officer under whom he serves. Also he is to
have his guns in a serviceable condition. The squadron under
Vice-Admiral Jan Evertsen is to lie or sail immediately ahead of the
admiral. Further Captain Pieter Floriszoon (who provisionally carries
the flag at the mizen as rear-admiral) is always to remain with his
squadron close astern of the admiral; and the Admiral Tromp is to take
his station between both with his squadron. The said superior officers
and captains are to stand by one another with all fidelity; and each
squadron when another is vigorously attacked shall second and free the
other, using therein all the qualities of a soldier and seaman.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] The Dutch has 'troppen' = to gather round (_cf._ our 'trooping the
colour'). De With's corresponding order has 'dat zij allen bij den
anderen ... gesloten zou den blijven.' _Supra_, p. 86.



II

ORDERS ISSUED DURING THE WAR
1653 AND 1654

INTRODUCTORY


The earliest known 'Fighting Instructions' in any language which aimed
at a single line ahead as a battle formation, were issued by the
Commonwealth's 'generals-at-sea' on March 29, 1653, in the midst of
the Dutch War. This is placed beyond doubt by an office copy amongst
the Duke of Portland's MSS. at Welbeck Abbey.[1] It is of high
importance for the history of naval tactics that we are at last able
to fix the date of these memorable orders. Endless misapprehension on
the subject of our battle formations during the First Dutch War has
been caused by a chronological error into which Mr. Granville Penn was
led in his _Memorials of Penn_ (Appendix L). Sir William Penn's
copy of these Instructions is merely dated 'March 1653,'[2] and his
biographer hazarded the very natural conjecture that, as this is an
'old style' date, it meant 'March 1654.' This would have been true of
any day in March before the 25th, but as we now can fix the date as
the 29th, we know the year is really 1653 and not 1654.[3] There was
perhaps some anxiety on Mr. Penn's part to get his hero some share in
the orders, and as William Penn was not appointed one of the
'generals-at-sea' till December 2, 1653, he could not officially have
had the credit of orders issued in the previous March. This point
however is also set at rest by the Welbeck copy, which besides the
date has the signatures of the generals, and they are those of Blake,
Deane and Monck. Penn did not sign them at all, but this really in no
way affects his claim as a tactical reformer. For as he was
vice-admiral of the fleet and an officer of high reputation, his share
in the orders was probably as great as that of anyone else.

The winter of 1652-3 was the turning point of the war. The summer
campaign had shown how serious the struggle was to be, and no terms
for ending it could be arranged. Large reinforcements consequently had
been ordered, and Monck and Deane nominated to assist Blake as joint
generals-at-sea for the next campaign. Four days later, on November
30, 1652, Blake had been defeated by Tromp off Dungeness, and several
of his captains were reported to have behaved badly. An inquiry was
ordered, and the famous 'Laws of War and Ordinances of the Sea,'
prepared by Sir Harry Vane by order of Parliament for the better
enforcement of discipline, were put in force. Notwithstanding these
vigorous efforts to increase the strength and efficiency of the sea
service, it was not till after the first action of the new campaign
that an attempt was made to improve the fleet tactics. The action off
Portland on February 18, 1653, and the ensuing chase of Tromp, marked
the first real success of the war; but though the generals succeeded
in delivering a severe blow to the Dutch admiral and his convoy, it
must have been clear to everyone that they narrowly escaped defeat
through a want of cohesion between their squadrons. On the 19th and
20th Tromp executed a masterly retreat, with his fleet in a crescent
or obtuse-angle formation and his convoy in its arms, but nowhere is
there any hint that either side fought in line ahead.[4] On the 25th
the fleet had put into Stokes Bay to refit, and between this time and
March 29 the new orders were produced.[5]

The first two articles it will be seen are practically the same as the
'Supplementary Instructions' on p. 99, but in the third, relating to
'general action,' instead of the ships engaging 'according to the
order presented,' as was enjoined in the previous set, 'they are to
endeavour to keep in a line with the chief,' as the order which will
enable them 'to take the best advantage they can to engage with the
enemy.' Article 6 directs that where a flagship is distressed captains
are to endeavour to form line between it and the enemy. Article 7
however goes still further, and enjoins that where the windward
station has been gained the line ahead is to be formed 'upon severest
punishment,' and a special signal is given for the manoeuvre. Article
9 provides a similar signal for flagships.

Compared with preceding orders, these new ones appear nothing less
than revolutionary. But it is by no means certain that they were
so. Here again it must be remarked that it is beyond all experience
for such sweeping reforms to be so rigorously adopted, and
particularly in the middle of a war, without their having been in the
air for some time previously, and without their supporters having some
evidence to cite of their having been tried and tried successfully, at
least on a small scale. The natural presumption therefore is that the
new orders only crystallised into a definite system, and perhaps
somewhat extended, a practice which had long been familiar though not
universal in the service. A consideration of the men who were
responsible for the change points to the same conclusion. Blake, the
only one of the three generals who had had experience of naval
actions, was ashore disabled by a severe wound, but still able to take
part, at least formally, in the business of the fleet. Deane, another
soldier like Blake, though he had commanded fleets, had never before
seen an action, but had done much to improve the organisation of the
service, and at this time, as his letters show, was more active and
ardent in the work than ever. Monck before the late cruise had never
been to sea at all, since as a boy he sailed in the disastrous Cadiz
expedition of 1625; but he was the typical and leading scientific
soldier of his time, with an unmatched power of organisation and an
infallible eye for both tactics and strategy, at least so far as it
had then been tried. Penn, the vice-admiral of the fleet, was a
professional naval officer of considerable experience, and it was he
who by a bold and skilful movement had saved the action off Portland
from being a severe defeat for Blake and Deane. Monck's therefore was
the only new mind that was brought to bear on the subject. Yet it is
impossible to credit him with introducing a revolution in naval
tactics. All that can be said is that possibly his genius for war and
his scientific and well-drilled spirit revealed to him in the
traditional minor tactics of the seamen the germ of a true tactical
system, and caused him to urge its reduction into a definite set of
fighting instructions which would be binding on all, and would
co-ordinate the fleet into the same kind of homogeneous and handy
fighting machine that he and the rest of the Low Country officers had
made of the New Model Army. In any case he could not have carried the
thing through unless it had commended itself to the experience of such
men as Penn and the majority of the naval officers of the council of
war. And they would hardly have been induced to agree had they not
felt that the new instructions were calculated to bring out the best
of the methods which they had empirically practised.

How far the new orders were carried out during the rest of the war is
difficult to say. In both official and unofficial reports of the
actions of this time an almost superstitious reverence is shown in
avoiding tactical details. Nevertheless that a substantial improvement
was the result seems clear, and further the new tactics appear to have
made a marked impression upon the Dutch. Of the very next action, that
off the Gabbard on June 2, when Monck was left in sole command, we
have a report from the Hague that the English 'having the wind, they
stayed on a tack for half an hour until they put themselves into the
order in which they meant to fight, which was in file at half
cannon-shot,' and the suggestion is that this was something new to the
Dutch. 'Our fleet,' says an English report by an eye-witness, 'did
work together in better order than before and seconded one another.'
Then there is the important testimony of a Royalist intelligencer who
got his information at the Hague on June 9, from the man who had
brought ashore the despatches from the defeated Dutch fleet. After
relating the consternation which the English caused in the Dutch ranks
as well by their gunnery as their refusal to board, he goes on to say,
'It is certain that the Dutch in this fight (by the relation and
acknowledgment of Tromp's own express sent hither, with whom I spoke)
showed very great fear and were in very great confusion, and the
English he says fought in excellent order.'[6]

Again, for the next battle--that of the Texel--fought on July 31 in
the same year, we have the statement of Hoste's informant, who was
present as a spectator, that at the opening of the action the English,
but not the Dutch, were formed in a single line close-hauled. 'Le 7
Aoust' [_i.e._ N.S.], the French gentleman says, 'je decouvris
l'armee de l'amiral composee de plus de cent vaisseaux de
guerre. Elle etait rangee en trois escadrons et elle faisoit
vent-arriere pour aller tomber sur les Anglois, qu'elle rencontra
le meme jour a peu pres en pareil nombre rangez _[sic]_ sur une
ligne qui tenoit plus de quatre lieues Nord-Nord-Est et Sud-Sud-Ouest,
le vent etant Nord-Ouest. Le 8 et le 9 se passerent en des
escarmouches, mais le 10 on en _[sic]_ vint a une bataille
decisive. Les Anglois avoient essaie de gagner le vent: mais
l'amiral Tromp en aiant toujours conserve l'avantage, et l'etant
range sur une ligne parallele a celle des Anglois arriva sur
eux,' &c. This is the first known instance of a Dutch fleet forming in
single line, and, so far as it goes, would tend to show they adopted
it in imitation of the English formation.[7] At any rate, so far as
we have gone, the evidence tends to show that the English finally
adopted the regular line-ahead formation in consequence of the orders
of March 29, 1653, and there is no indication of the current belief
that they borrowed it from the Dutch.

By the English admirals the new system must have been regarded as a
success. For the Fighting Instructions of 1653 were reissued with
nothing but a few alterations of signals and verbal changes by Blake,
Monck, Disbrowe, and Penn, the new 'admirals and generals of the fleet
of the Commonwealth of England,' appointed in December 1653, when the
war was practically over. They are printed by Granville Penn
(_Memorials of Penn_, ii. 76), under date March 31, 1655, but
that cannot be the actual date of their issue, for Blake was then in
the Mediterranean, Penn in the West Indies, and Monck busy with his
pacification of the Highlands. We must suspect here then another
confusion between old and new styles, and conjecture the true date to
be March 31, 1654, that is just before Monck left for Scotland, and a
few days before the peace was signed. So that these would be the
orders under which Blake conducted his famous campaign in the
Mediterranean, Penn and Venables captured Jamaica, and the whole of
Cromwell's Spanish war was fought.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Hist. MSS. Com._ XIII. ii. 85. It is from a transcript of this copy
made for Dr. Gardiner that I have been permitted to take the text below.
A set of 'Instructions for the better ordering of the fleet in Sailing'
accompanies them.

[2] _British Museum, Shane MSS._ 3232, f. 81.

[3] The Sloane copy is not quite identical with that in the Portland
MSS. The variations, however, are merely verbal and in a few signals,
and are of such a nature as to be accounted for by careless
transcription.

[4] Hoste, the author of the first great treatise on Naval Tactics,
quotes Tromp's formation as a typical method of retreat; but his account
is vitiated by what seems a curious mistake. He says: 'Il rangea son
armee en demi-lune et il mit son convoi au milieu: c'est a dire que son
vaisseau faisait au vent l'angle obtus de la demi-lune, et les autres
s'etendoient de part (_sic_) et d'autre _sur les deux lignes du plus-
pres_ pour former les faces de la demi-lune qui couvroient le convoi. Ce
fut en cet ordre qu'il fit vent arriere, foudroiant a droite et a gauche
tous les anglois qui s'approchent' But if with the wind aft his two
quarter lines bore from the flagship seven points from the wind, the
formation would have been concave to the enemy and the convoy could not
have been _au milieu_. (_Evolutions Navales_, pp. 90, 95, and plate 29,
p. 91.) The passage is in any case interesting, as showing that what was
then called the crescent or half-moon formation was nothing but our own
'order of retreat,' or 'order of retreat reverted,' of Rodney's time. As
defined by Sir Charles Knowles in 1780, the order of retreat reverted
was formed on two lines of bearing, _i.e._ by the seconds of the centre
ship keeping two points abaft her starboard and larboard beams
respectively. In the simple order of retreat they kept two points before
the beam.

[5] No reference to these orders appears in the correspondence of the
generals at this time, unless it be in a letter of John Poortmans,
deputy-treasurer of the fleet, to Robert Blackbourne, in which he writes
on March 9: 'The generals want 500 copies of the instructions for
commanders of the state's ships printed and sent down.' (_S.P. Dom._ 48,
f. 65.)

[6] _Clarendon MSS._ 45, f. 470.

[7] Hoste, _Evolutions Navales_, p. 78. Dr. Gardiner declared himself
sceptical as to the genuineness of the French gentleman's narrative,
mainly on the ground of certain inaccuracies of date and detail; but, as
Hoste certainly believed in it, it cannot well be rejected as evidence
of the main features of the action for which he used it.



_COMMONWEALTH ORDERS_, 1653.[1]

[+Duke of Portland's MSS.+]

_By the Right Honourable the Generals and Admirals of the Fleet.
Instructions for the better ordering of the fleet in fighting_.


First. Upon the discovery of a fleet, receiving a sign from the
general, which is to be striking the general's ensign, and making a
weft,[2] two frigates [3] appointed out of each squadron are to make
sail, and stand with them so nigh as they may conveniently, the better
to gain a knowledge of them what they are, and of what quality, and
how many fireships and others, and in what posture[4] the fleet is;
which being done the frigates are to speak together and conclude in
that report they are to give, and accordingly repair to their
respective squadrons and commanders-in-chief, and not to engage if the
enemy[5] exceed them in number, except it shall appear to them on the
place they have the advantage:

Ins. 2nd. At sight of the said fleet the vice-admiral, or he that
commands in chief in the 2nd place, and his squadron, as also the
rear-admiral, or he that commandeth in chief in the 3rd place, and his
squadron, are to make what sail they can to come up with the admiral
on each wing, the vice-admiral on the right wing, and the rear-admiral
on the left wing, leaving a competent distance for the admiral's
squadron if the wind will permit and there be sea-room enough.

Ins. 3rd. As soon as they shall see the general engage, or make a
signal by shooting off two guns and putting a red flag over the fore
topmast-head, that then each squadron shall take the best advantage
they can to engage with the enemy next unto them; and in order
thereunto all the ships of every squadron shall endeavour to keep in a
line with the chief unless the chief be maimed or otherwise disabled
(which God forbid!), whereby the said ship that wears the flag should
not come in to do the service which is requisite. Then every ship of
the said squadron shall endeavour to keep[6] in a line with the
admiral, or _he that commands in chief_[7] next unto him, and
nearest the enemy.

Inst. 4th. If any squadron shall happen to be overcharged or
distressed, the next squadron or ships are _speedily_[8] to make
towards their relief and assistance upon a signal given them; which
signal shall be, in the admiral's squadron a pennant on the fore
topmast-head, the vice-admiral or he that commands in chief in the
second place a pennant on the main topmast-head, [and] the
rear-admiral's squadron the like.

Inst. 5th. If in case any ship shall be distressed or disabled for
lack of masts, shot under water, or otherwise _in danger of sinking
or taking, he or they_,[9] thus distressed shall make a sign by
the weft of his jack or ensign, and those next him are strictly
required to relieve him.

Inst. 6th. That if any ship shall be necessitated to bear away from
the enemy to stop a leak or mend what else is amiss, which cannot be
otherwise repaired, he is to put out a pennant on the mizen yard-arm
or ensign staff, whereby the rest of the ships may have notice what it
is for; and if it should be that the admiral or any flagship should do
so, the ships of the fleet or the respective squadrons are to
endeavour to _keep up in a line as close_[10] as they can betwixt
him and the enemy, having always one eye to defend him in case the
enemy should come to annoy him in that condition.

Inst. 7th. In case the admiral should have the wind of the enemy, and
that other ships of the fleet are to windward of the admiral, then
upon hoisting up a blue flag at the mizen yard, or the mizen
topmast,[11] every such ship then is to bear up into his wake, _and
grain upon severest punishment_[12] In case the admiral be to
leeward of the enemy, and his fleet or any part thereof to leeward of
him, to the end such ships to leeward may come up into the line with
their admiral, if he shall put abroad a flag as before and bear up,
none that are to leeward are to bear up, but to keep his or their luff
to gain the wake or grain.

Inst. 8th. If the admiral will have any of the ships _to
endeavour_[13] by tacking or otherwise to gain the wind of the
enemy, he will put abroad a red flag at his spritsail, topmast
shrouds, forestay or main topmast[14] stay. He that first discovers
the signal shall make sail and hoist and lower his sail[15] or ensign,
that the rest of the ships may take notice of it and follow.

Inst. 9th. If we put out a red flag on the mizen shrouds, or mizen
yard-arm, we will have all the flagships to come up in the grain and
wake[16] of us.

Inst. 10th. If in time of fight God shall deliver any of the enemy's
ships into our hands, special care is to be taken to save their men as
the present state of our condition will permit in such a case, but
that the ships be immediately destroyed, by sinking or burning the
same, so that our own ships be not disabled or any work interrupted by
the departing of men or boats from the ships; and this we require all
commanders to be more than mindful of.[17]

Inst. 11th. None shall fire upon any ship of the enemy that is laid
aboard by any of our own ships, but so that he may be sure he endamage
not his friend.

Inst. 12th. That it is the duty of commanders and masters of all small
frigates,[18] ketches, and smacks belonging to the several squadrons
to know the fireships belonging to the enemy, and accordingly by
observing their motions to do their utmost to cut off their boats if
possible, or, if opportunity be, that they lay them aboard, seize or
destroy them. And to this purpose they are to keep to windward of
their squadrons in time of service. But in case they cannot prevent
the fireships [coming][19] on board by clapping between us and them
(which by all means possible they are to endeavour), that then in such
cases they show themselves men in such an exigent and steer on board
them, and with their boats, grapnels, and other means clear them from
us and destroy them; which service (if honourably done) according to
its merit shall be rewarded, but the neglect severely to be called to
accompt.

Inst. 13th. That the fireships in the several squadrons endeavour to
keep the wind; and they with the small frigates to be as near the
great ships as they can, to attend the signal from the general or
commander-in-chief, and to act accordingly. If the general hoist up a
white flag on the mizen yard-arm or topmast-head, all small frigates
in his squadron are to come under his stern for orders.

Inst. 14th. That if any engagement by day shall continue till night
and the general shall please to anchor, then upon signal given they
all anchor in as good order as may be, the signal being as in the
'Instructions for Sailing'; and if the general please to retreat
without anchoring, the signal to be firing two guns, the one so nigh
the other as the report may be distinguished, and within three minutes
after to do the like with two guns more.

Given under our hands at Portsmouth, this March 29th, 1653.

ROBERT BLAKE.
RICHARD DEANE.
GEORGE MONCK.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Re-issued in March 1654, by Blake, Monck, Disbrowe, and Penn, with
some amendments and verbal alterations. As reissued they are in _Sloane
MSS._ 3232, f. 81, and printed in Granville Penn's _Memorials of Sir
William Penn_, ii. 76. All the important amendments in the new edition,
apart from mere verbal alterations, are given below in notes to the
articles in which they occur.

[2] '_Waft_ (more correctly written _wheft_). It is any flag or ensign
stopped together at the head and middle portion, slightly rolled up
lengthwise, and hoisted at different positions at the after-part of a
ship.'--Admiral Smyth (_Sailors' Word-Book_).

[3] The orders of 1654 have 'one frigate.'

[4] _I.e._ 'formation.'

[5] 1654, 'enemy's ships.'

[6] 1654, 'get.'

[7] 1654, 'or the commander-in-chief.'

[8] 1654, 'immediately.'

[9] 1654, 'so as she is in danger of being sunk or taken, then they.'

[10] 1654, 'to keep on close in a line.'

[11] 1654, 'mizen topmast-head.'

[12] 1654, 'or grain upon pain of severe punishment.' Nothing is more
curious in naval phraseology than the loss of this excellent word
'grain,' or 'grayne,' to express the opposite of 'wake.' To come into a
ship's grain meant to take station ahead of her. There is nothing now
which exactly supplies its place, and yet it has long fallen into
oblivion, so long, indeed, that its existence was unknown to the learned
editors of the new _Oxford Dictionary_. This is to be the more regretted
as its etymology is very obscure. It may, however, be traced with little
doubt to the old Norse 'grein,' a branch or prong, surviving in the word
'grains,' a pronged harpoon or fish spear. From its meaning, 'branch,'
it might seem to be akin to 'stem' and to 'bow,' which is only another
spelling of'bough.' But this is not likely. The older meaning of 'bows'
was 'shoulders,' and this, it is agreed, is how it became applied to the
head of a ship. There is, however, a secondary and more widely used
sense of 'grain,' which means the space between forking boughs, and so
almost any angular space, like a meadow where two rivers converge. Thus
'grain,' in the naval sense, might easily mean the space enclosed by the
planks of a ship where they spring from the stem, or if it is not
actually the equivalent of 'bows,' it may mean the diverging waves
thrown up by a ship advancing through the water, and thus be the exact
analogue of 'wake.'

[13] 1654, 'to make sail and endeavour.'

[14] 1654, 'Fore topmast.'

[15] 1654, 'jack.'

[16] 1654, 'wake or grain.'

[17] 1654, 'more than ordinarily careful of.'

[18] It should be remembered that 'frigate' at this time meant a
'frigate-built ship.' The larger ones were 'capital ships' and lay in
the line, while the smaller ones were used as cruisers.

[19] Inserted from 1654 copy.




PART V

THE SECOND DUTCH WAR

I. THE EARL OF SANDWICH, 1665

II. THE DUKE OF YORK AND PRINCE RUPERT, 1665-6



I

ORDERS OF THE RESTORATION

INTRODUCTORY


Though several fleets were fitted out in the first years of the
Restoration, the earliest orders of Charles II's reign that have come
down to us are those which the Earl of Sandwich issued on the eve of
the Second Dutch War. Early in the year 1665, when hostilities were
known to be inevitable, he had sailed from Portsmouth with a squadron
of fifteen sail for the North Sea. On January 27th he arrived in the
Downs, and on February 9th sailed for the coast of Holland.[1] War
was declared on March 4th following. The orders in question are only
known by a copy given to one of his frigate captains, which has
survived amongst the manuscripts of the Duke of Somerset. So far as is
known no fresh complete set of Fighting Instructions was issued before
the outbreak of the war, and as Monck and Sandwich were still among
the leading figures at the admiralty it is probable that those used in
the last Dutch and Spanish Wars were continued. The four orders here
given are supplementary to them, providing for the formation of line
abreast, and for forming from that order a line ahead to port or
starboard. It is possible however that no other orders had yet been
officially issued, and that these simple directions were regarded by
Sandwich as all that were necessary for so small a squadron.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] _Domestic Calendar_, 1664-5, pp. 181, 183.



_THE EARL OF SANDWICH, Feb. 1, 1665_.

[+Duke of Somerset's MSS., printed by the Historical MSS. Commission.
Rep. XV. part vii. p. 100+.]

_Orders given by direction of the Earl of Sandwich to Captain Hugh
Seymour,[1] of the Pearl frigate_.


1665, February 1. On board the London in the Downs.

If we shall bear up, putting abroad the standard on the ancient[2]
staff, every ship of this squadron is to draw up abreast with the
flag, on either side, in such berth as opportunity shall present most
convenient, but if there be time they are to sail in the foresaid
posture.[3]

If the admiral put up a jack[4]-flag on the flagstaff on the mizen
topmast-head and fire a gun, then the outwardmost ship on the
starboard side is to clap upon a wind with his starboard tacks aboard,
and all the squadron as they lie above or as they have ranked
themselves are presently to clap upon a wind and stand after him in a
line.

And if the admiral make a weft with his jack-flag upon the flagstaff
on the mizen topmast-head and fire a gun, then the outwardmost ship on
the larboard side is to clap upon a wind with his larboard tacks
aboard, and all the squadrons as they have ranked themselves are
presently to clap upon a wind and stand after him in a line.

All the fifth and sixth rates[5] are to lie on that broadside of the
admiral which is away from the enemy, looking out well when any sign
is made for them. Then they are to endeavour to come up under the
admiral's stern for to receive orders.

If we shall give the signal of hanging a pennant under the flag at the
main topmast-head, then all the ships of this squadron are, with what
speed they can, to fall into this posture, every ship in the place and
order here assigned, and sail and anchor so that they may with the
most readiness fall into the above said posture.[6]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Son of Colonel Sir Edward Seymour, 3rd baronet, Governor of
Dartmouth.

[2] _I.e._ ensign.

[3] _I.e._ in the 'order of battle' already given.

[4] The earliest known use of the word 'jack' for a flag in an official
document occurs in an order issued by Sir John Pennington to his pinnace
captains in 1633. He was in command of the Channel guard in search of
pirates, particularly 'The Seahorse lately commanded by Captain Quaile'
and 'Christopher Megges, who had lately committed some outrage upon the
Isle of Lundy, and other places.' The pinnaces were to work inshore of
the admiral and to endeavour to entrap the piratical ships, and to this
end he said, 'You are also for this present service to keep in your Jack
at your boultsprit end and your pendant and your ordnance.' (_Sloane
MSS._ 2682, f. 51.) The object of the order evidently was that they
should conceal their character from the pirates, and at this time
therefore the 'jack' carried at the end of the bowsprit and the pennant
must have been the sign of a navy ship. Boteler however, who wrote his
_Sea Dialogues_ about 1625, does not mention the jack in his remarks
about flags (pp. 327-334). The etymology is uncertain. The new _Oxford
Dictionary_ inclines to the simple explanation that 'jack' was used in
this case in its common diminutive sense, and that 'jack-flag' was
merely a small flag.

[5] _I.e._ his cruisers.

[6] In the Report of the Historical MSS. Commission it is stated that
the position of the ships is shown in a diagram, but I have been unable
to obtain access to the document.



II

MONCK, PRINCE RUPERT AND THE DUKE OF YORK

INTRODUCTORY


It has hitherto been universally supposed that the Dutch Wars of the
Restoration were fought under the set of orders printed as an appendix
to Granville Penn's _Memorials of Penn_. Mr. Penn believed them
to belong to the year 1665, but recent research shows conclusively
that these often-quoted orders, which have been the source of so much
misapprehension, are really much later and represent not the ideas
under which those wars were fought, but the experience that was gained
from them.

This new light is mainly derived from a hitherto unknown collection of
naval manuscripts belonging to the Earl of Dartmouth, which he has
generously placed at the disposal of the Society. The invaluable
material they contain enables us to say with certainty that the orders
which the Duke of York issued as lord high admiral and
commander-in-chief at the outbreak of the war were nothing but a
slight modification of those of 1654, with a few but not unimportant
additions. Amongst the manuscripts, most of which relate to the first
Lord Dartmouth's cousin and first commander, Sir Edward Spragge, is a
'Sea Book' that must have once belonged to that admiral. It is a kind
of commonplace book, the greater part unused, in which Spragge appears
to have begun to enter various important orders and other matter of
naval interest with which he had been officially concerned, by way of
forming a collection of precedents.[1] Amongst these is a copy of
the orders set out below, dated from the Royal Charles, the Duke of
York's flagship, 'the 10th of April, 1665,' by command of his royal
highness, and signed 'Wm. Coventry.' This was the well-known
politician Sir William Coventry, the model, if not the author, of the
_Character of a Trimmer_, who had been made private secretary to the
duke on the eve of the Restoration, and was now a commissioner of the
navy and acting as secretary on the duke's staff. So closely it will
be seen do they follow the Commonwealth orders of 1653, as modified in
the following year, that it would be scarcely worth while setting them
out in full, but for the importance of finally establishing their true
origin. The scarcely concealed doubts which many writers have felt as
to whether the new system of tactics can have been due to the Duke of
York may now be laid at rest, and henceforth the great reform must be
credited not to him, but to Cromwell's 'generals-at-sea.'

Nevertheless the credit of certain developments which were introduced
at this time must still remain with the duke and his advisers: Rupert,
Sandwich, Lawson, and probably above all Penn, his flag captain. For
instance, differences will be found in Articles 2 and 3, where,
instead of merely enjoining the line, the duke refers to a regular
'order of battle,' which has not come down to us, but which no doubt
gave every ship her station in the line, like those which Sandwich had
prepared for his squadron a few months earlier, and which Monck and
Rupert certainly drew up in the following year.[2] Then again the
truculent Article 10 of 1653 and 1654 ordering the immediate
destruction of disabled ships of the enemy after saving the crews if
possible, which contemporary authorities put down to Monck, is
reversed. At the end, moreover, two articles are added; one, numbered
15, embodying numbers 2 and 3 of Sandwich's orders of the previous
year, with such modifications as were necessary to adapt them to a
large fleet, and another numbered 16 enjoining 'close action.' Nor is
this all. Spragge's 'Sea Book' contains also a set of ten 'additional
instructions' all of which are new. They are undated, but from another
copy in Capt. Robert Moulton's 'Sea Book' we can fix them to April
18th, 1665.[3] Their whole tenour suggests that they were the
outcome of prolonged discussions in the council of war; and in the
variously dated copies which exist of sections of the orders we have
evidence that between the last week in March, when the duke hoisted
his flag, and April 21st, when he put to sea, much time must have been
spent upon the consideration of the tactical problem.[4]

The result was a marked advance. In these ten 'additional
instructions,' for instance, we have for the first time a clear
distinction drawn between attacks from windward and attacks from
leeward. We have also the first appearance of the close-hauled line
ahead, and it is enjoined as a defensive formation when the enemy
attacks from windward. A method of attack from windward is also
provided for the case where the enemy stays to receive it. Amongst
less important developments we have an article making the half-cable's
length, originally enjoined under the Commonwealth, the regular
interval between ships, and others to prevent the line being broken
for the sake of chasing or taking possession of beaten ships. Finally
there are signals for tacking in succession either from the van or the
rear, which must have given the fleet a quite unprecedented increase
of tactical mobility. Nor are we without evidence that increased
mobility was actually exhibited when the new instructions were put to
a practical test.

It was under the old Commonwealth orders as supplemented and modified
by these noteworthy articles of April 1665, that was fought the
memorable action of June 3rd, variously known as the battle of
Lowestoft or the Second Battle of the Texel. It is this action that
Hoste cites as the first in which two fleets engaged in close hauled
line ahead, and kept their formation throughout the day. After two
days' manoeuvring the English gained the wind, and kept it in spite of
all their enemy could do, and the various accounts of the action
certainly give the impression that the evolutions of the English were
smarter and more complex than those of the Dutch. It is true that
about the middle of the action one of the new signals, that for the
rear to tack first, threw the fleet into some confusion, and that
later the van and centre changed places; still, till almost the end,
the duke, or rather Penn, his flag captain, kept at least some control
of the fleet. Granville Penn indeed claims that the duke finally
routed the Dutch by breaking their line, and that he did it
intentionally. But this movement is only mentioned in a hasty letter
to the press written immediately after the battle. If the enemy's line
was actually cut, it must have been an accident or a mere instance of
the time-honoured practice of trying to concentrate on or 'overcharge'
a part of the enemy's fleet. Coventry in his official despatch to
Monck, who was ashore in charge of the admiralty, says nothing of it,
nor does Hoste, while the duke himself tells us the object of his
movement was merely to have 'a bout with Opdam.' Granville Penn was
naturally inclined to credit the statement in the Newsletter because
he believed the action was fought under Fighting Instructions which
contained an article about dividing the enemy's fleet. But even if
this article had been in force at the time--and we now know that it
was not--it would still have been inapplicable, for it was only
designed in view of an attack from leeward, a most important point
which modern writers appear unaccountably to have overlooked.[5]

But although we can no longer receive this questionable movement of
the Duke of York as an instance of 'breaking the line' in the modern
sense, it is certain that the English manoeuvres in this action were
more scientific and elaborate than ever before--so much so indeed that
a reaction set in, and it is this reaction which gave rise to the idea
in later times that the order in line ahead had not been used in
Commonwealth or Restoration times. We gather that in spite of the
victory there was a widespread conviction that it ought to have been
more decisive. It was felt that there had been perhaps too much
manoeuvring and not enough hard fighting. In the end the Duke of York
and Sandwich were both tenderly relieved of their command, and
superseded by Monck. He and Rupert then became joint admirals for the
ensuing campaign. They had the reputation of being two of the hardest
fighters alive, and both were convinced of their power of sweeping the
Dutch from the sea by sheer hard hitting, a belief which so far at
least as Monck was concerned the country enthusiastically shared. The
spirit in which the two soldier-admirals put to sea in May 1666 we see
reflected in the hitherto unknown 'Additional Instructions for
Fighting' given below. For the knowledge of these remarkable orders,
which go far to solve the mystery that has clouded the subject, we are
again indebted to Lord Dartmouth. They are entered like the others in
Sir Edward Spragge's 'Sea Book.' They bear no date, but as they are
signed 'Rupert' and addressed to 'Sir Edward Spragge, Knt.,
Vice-Admiral of the Blue,' we can with certainty fix them to this
time. For we know that Spragge sailed in Rupert's squadron, and on
the fourth day of the famous June battle was raised to the rank here
given him in place of Sir William Berkley, who had been killed in the
first day's action.[6] What share Monck had in the orders we cannot
tell, but Rupert, being only joint admiral with him, could hardly have
taken the step without his concurrence, and the probability is that
Rupert, who had been detached on special service, was issuing a
general fleet order to his own squadron which may have been
communicated to the rest of the fleet before he rejoined. It must at
any rate have been after he rejoined, for it was not till then that
Spragge received his promotion. Both Monck and Rupert must therefore
receive the credit of foreseeing the danger that lay in the new
system, the danger of tactical pedantry that was destined to hamper
the action of our fleets for the next half century, and of being the
first to declare, long before Anson or Hawke, and longer still before
Nelson, that line or no line, signals or no signals, 'the destruction
of the enemy is always to be made the chiefest care.'

In the light of this discovery we can at last explain the curious
conversation recorded by Pepys, which, wrongly interpreted, has done
so much to distort the early history of tactics. The circumstances of
Monck's great action must first be recalled. At the end of May, he and
Rupert, with a fleet of about eighty sail, had put to sea to seek the
Dutch, when a sudden order reached them from the court that the French
Mediterranean fleet was coming up channel to join hands with the
enemy, and that Rupert with his squadron of twenty sail was to go
westward to stop it. The result of this foolish order was that on June
1 Monck found himself in presence of the whole Dutch fleet of nearly a
hundred sail, with no more than fifty-nine of his own.[7] Seeing an
advantage, however, he attacked them furiously, throwing his whole
weight upon their van. Though at first successful shoals forced him
to tack, and his rear fell foul of the Dutch centre and rear, so that
he came off severely handled. The next day he renewed the fight with
forty-four sail against about eighty, and with so much skill that he
was able that night to make an orderly retreat, covering his disabled
ships with those least injured 'in a line abreadth.'[8] On the 3rd
the retreat was continued. So well was it managed that the Dutch
could not touch him, and towards evening he was able near the Galloper
Sand to form a junction with Rupert, who had been recalled. Together
on the 4th day they returned to the fight with as fierce a
determination as ever. Though to leeward, they succeeded in breaking
through the enemy's line, such as it was. Being in too great an
inferiority of numbers, however, they could not reap the advantage of
their manoeuvre.[9] It only resulted in their being doubled on, and
the two fleets were soon mingled in a raging mass without order or
control; and when in the end they parted after a four days' fight,
without example for endurance and carnage in naval history, the
English had suffered a reverse at least as great as that they had
inflicted on the Dutch in the last year's action.

Such a terrific object lesson could not be without its effects on the
great tactical question. But let us see how it looked in the eyes of a
French eye-witness, who was naturally inclined to a favourable view of
his Dutch allies. Of the second day's fight he says: 'Sur les six
heures du matin nous appercumes la flotte des Anglais qui revenoit
dans une ordre admirable. Car ils marchent par le front comme seroit
une armee de terre, et quand ils approchent ils s'etendent et
tournent leurs bords pour combattre: parce que le front a la mer se
fait par le bord des vaisseaux': that is, of course, the English bore
down on the Dutch all together in line abreast, and then hauled their
wind into line ahead to engage. Again, in describing the danger Tromp
was in by having weathered the English fleet with his own squadron,
while the rest of the Dutch were to leeward, he says: 'J'ai deja
dit que rien n'egale le bel ordre et la discipline des Anglais, que
jamais ligne n'a ete tiree plus droite que celle que leurs
vaisseaux forment, qu'on peut etre certain que lorsqu'on en
approche il les faux [_sic_] tous essuier.' The very precision
of the English formation however, as he points out, was what saved
Tromp from destruction, because having weathered their van-ship, he
had the wind of them all and could not be enveloped. On the other
hand, he says, whenever an English ship penetrated the Dutch formation
it fared badly because the Dutch kept themselves 'redoublez'--that is,
not in a single line. As a general principle, then, he declares that
it is safer to 'entrer dans une flotte d'Angleterre que de passer
aupres' (_i.e._ stand along it), 'et bien mieux de passer
aupres d'une flotte Hollandaise que se meler au travers, si elle
combat toujours comme elle fit pour lors.' But on the whole he
condemns the loose formation of the Dutch, and says it is really due
not to a tactical idea, but to individual captains shirking their
duty. It is clear, then, that whatever was De Ruyter's intention, the
Dutch did not fight in a true line. Later on in the same action he
says: 'Ruyter de son cote appliqua toute son industrie pour
donner une meilleure forme a sa ligne ... enfin par ce moyen nous
nous remismes sur une ligne parallele a celle des Anglais.'
Finally, in summing up the tactical lesson of the stupendous battle,
he concludes: 'A la verite l'ordre admirable de leur [the
English] armee doit toujours etre imite, et pour moi je sais
bien que si j'etais dans le service de mer, et que je commandasse
des vaisseaux du Roi je songerois a battre les Anglois _par leur
propre maniere et non par celle des Hollandoises, et de nous
autres, qui est de vouloir aborder_.' In defence of his view he
cites a military analogy, instancing a line of cavalry, which being
controlled 'avec regle' devotes itself solely to making the
opposing force give way, and keeps as close an eye on itself as on the
enemy. Supposing such a line engaged against another body of horse in
which the squadrons break their ranks and advance unevenly to the
charge, such a condition, he says, would not promise success to the
latter, and the parallel he contends is exact.[10]

From this account by an accomplished student of tactics we may deduce
three indisputable conclusions, 1. That the formation in line ahead
was aimed at the development of gun power as opposed to
boarding. 2. That it was purely English, and that, however far Dutch
tacticians had sought to imitate it, they had not yet succeeded in
forcing it on their seamen. 3. That the English certainly fought in
line, and had reached a perfection in handling the formation which
could only have been the result of constant practice in fleet tactics.

It remains to consider the precisely opposite impression we get from
English authority. To begin with, we find on close examination that
the whole of it, or nearly so, is to be traced to Pepys or Penn. The
_locus classicus_ is as follows from Pepys's _Diary_ of July
4th. 'In the evening Sir W. Penn came to me, and we walked together
and talked of the late fight. I find him very plain, that the whole
conduct of the late fight was ill.... He says three things must be
remedied, or else we shall be undone by their fleet. 1. That we must
fight in line, whereas we fight promiscuously, to our utter
demonstrable ruin: the Dutch fighting otherwise, and we whenever we
beat them. 2. We must not desert ships of our own in distress, as we
did, for that makes a captain desperate, and he will fling away his
ship when there are no hopes left him of succour. 3. That ships when
they are a little shattered must not take the liberty to come in of
themselves, but refit themselves the best they can and stay out, many
of our ships coming in with very little disableness. He told me that
our very commanders, nay, our very flag officers, do stand in need of
exercising amongst themselves and discoursing the business of
commanding a fleet, he telling me that even one of our flag men in the
fleet did not know which tack lost the wind or kept it in the last
engagement.... He did talk very rationally to me, insomuch that I
took more pleasure this night in hearing him discourse than I ever did
in my life in anything that he said.'

Pepys's enjoyment is easily understood. He disliked Penn--thought him
a 'mean rogue,' a 'coxcomb,' and a 'false rascal,' but he was very
sore over the supersession of his patron, Sandwich, and so long as
Penn abused Monck, Pepys was glad enough to listen to him, and ready
to believe anything he said in disparagement of the late battle. Penn
was no less bitter against Monck, and when his chief, the Duke of
York, was retired he had sulkily refused to serve under the new
commander-in-chief. For this reason Penn had not been present at the
action, but he was as ready as Pepys to believe anything he was told
against Monck, and we may be sure the stories of grumbling officers
lost nothing when he repeated them into willing ears. That Penn
really told Pepys the English had not fought in line is quite
incredible, even if he was, as Sir George Carteret, treasurer of the
navy, called him, 'the falsest rascal that ever was in the world.'
The fleet orders and the French testimony make this practically
impossible. But he may well have expressed himself very hotly about
the new instruction issued by Monck and Rupert which modified his own,
and placed the destruction of the enemy above a pedantic adherence to
the line. Pepys must clearly have forgotten or misunderstood what Penn
said on this point, and in any case both men were far too much
prejudiced for the passage to have any historical value. Abuse of
Monck by Penn can have little weight enough, but the same abuse
filtered through Pepys's acrid and irresponsible pen can have no
weight at all.[11]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] It is a folio parchment-bound volume, labelled 'Royal Charles Sea
Book,' but this is clearly an error, due to the fact that the first
order copied into it is dated from the Royal Charles, April 24, 1666.
The first entry, however, is the list of a ship's company which Spragge
commanded in 1661-2, as appears from his noting the deaths and
desertions which took place amongst the crew in those years. At this
time he is known to have commanded the Portland. For some years the book
was evidently laid aside, and apparently resumed when in 1665 he
commissioned the Triumph for the Dutch War.

[2] See notes _supra_, pp. 108-9, and in the _Dartmouth MSS., Hist. MSS.
Com. Rep._ XI. v. 15.

[3] _Harleian MSS._ 1247. It contains orders addressed to Moulton and
returns for the Centurion, Vanguard and Anne, the ships he commanded in
1664-6. At p. 52 it has a copy of the above 'Additional Instructions,'
but numbered 1 to 6, articles 1 to 5 of the Dartmouth copy being in one
long article. At p. 50 it has the original articles as far as No. 6.
Then come two articles numbered as 7 and 8, giving signals for a
squadron 'to draw up in line' and to come near the admiral. They are
subscribed 'Royal James, Admiral.' The Royal James was Rupert's flagship
in 1665, and the two articles may be squadronal orders of his. Then,
numbered 9 to 12, come four 'additional instructions for sailing' by the
Duke of York, relating to chasing, and dated April 24, 1665.

[4] Some of these articles are dated even as late as April 27, See in
the _Penn Tracts, Sloane MSS._ 3232, f. 33, _infra_, p. 128.

[5] See _post_, p. 177. For the despatches, &c., see G. Penn, _Memorials
of Penn_, II. 322-333, 344-350. He also quotes a work published at
Amsterdam in 1668 which says: 'Le Comte de Sandwich separa la flotte
Hollandaise en deux vers l'une heure du midi.' He explains that by the
order for the rear to tack first, Sandwich was leading, forgetting
Coventry's despatch (_ibid._ p. 328), which tells how by that time the
duke had taken Sandwich's place and was leading the line himself, and
that it was he, not Sandwich, who led the movement upon Opdam's ship in
the centre of the Dutch line.

[6] Charnock, _Biographia Navalis_, i. 65.

[7] Pepys, it must be said, persuaded himself that this order was
suggested and approved by the admirals. He traced it to Spragge's desire
to get away with his chief on a separate command. Pepys however was
clearly not sure about it, and he almost certainly would have been if
the Duke of York was really innocent of the blunder. The truth probably
can never be known.

[8] Vice-Admiral Jordan to Penn, June 5, _Memorials of Penn_, II. 389.
This is the first known instance of the use of the term 'line abreast.'
In the published account a different term is used. 'By 3 or 4 in the
morning,' it says, 'a small breeze sprang up at N.E. and at a council of
flag officers, his grace the lord general resolved to draw the fleet
into a "rear line of battle" and make a fair retreat of it.' (_Brit.
Museum_, 816, m. 23(13), p. 5, and _S.P. Dom. Car. II_, vol. 158.) The
French and Dutch called it the 'crescent' formation. See note, p. 94.

[9] See _post_, pp. 136-7.

[10] _Memoires d'Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche, concernant les
Provinces Unis des Pays-Bas servant de supplement et de confirmation a
ceux d'Aubrey du Maurier et du Comte d'Estrades_. Londres, chez Philippe
Changuion, 1744. (The italics are not in the original.) _Cf._ the
similar French account quoted by Mahan, _Sea Power_, 117 _et seq._

[11] _Cf._ a similar conversation that Pepys had on October 28 with a
certain Captain Guy, who had been in command of a small fourth-rate of
thirty-eight guns in Holmes's attack on the shipping at Vlie and
Shelling after the 'St. James's Fight' and of a company of the force
that landed to destroy Bandaris. The prejudice of both Pepys and Penn
comes out still more strongly in their remarks on Monck's and Rupert's
great victory of July 25, and their efforts to make out it was no
victory at all. The somewhat meagre accounts we have of this action all
point as before to the superiority of the English manoeuvring, and to
the inability or unwillingness of the Dutch, and especially of Tromp, to
preserve the line.



_THE DUKE OF YORK, April_ 10, 1665.

[+Sir Edward Spragge's Sea Book. The Earl of Dartmouth MSS.+]

_James, Duke of York and Albany, Earl of Ulster, Lord High Admiral
of England and Ireland, &c, Constable of Dover Castle, Lord Warden of
the Cinque Ports, and Governor of Portsmouth.

Instructions for the better ordering his majesty's fleet in time of
fighting_.


Upon discovery of a fleet receiving a sign from the admiral, which is
to be striking of the admiral's ensign, and making a weft, one frigate
appointed out of each squadron are to make sail and stand in with them
so nigh as conveniently they may, the better to gain a knowledge of
what they are and what quality, how many fireships and others, and in
what posture the fleet is; which being done the frigates are to meet
together and conclude on the report they are to give, and accordingly
to repair to their respective squadrons and commanders-in-chief, and
not engage if the enemy's ships exceed them in number, except it shall
appear to them on the place that they have an advantage.

2. At the sight of the said fleet the vice-admiral, or he that
commands in chief in the second place, and his squadron, and the
rear-admiral, or he that commands in chief in the third place, and his
squadron are to make what sail they can to come up and put themselves
into the place and order which shall have been directed them before in
the order of battle.

3. As soon as they shall see the admiral engage or shall make a signal
by shooting off two guns and putting out a red flag on the fore
topmast-head, that then each squadron shall take the best advantage
they can to engage with the enemy according to the order prescribed.

4. If any squadron shall happen to be overcharged and distressed, the
next squadron or ships are immediately to make towards their relief
and assistance upon a signal given them: which signal shall be in the
admiral's squadron a pennant on the fore topmast-head; if any ship in
the vice-admiral's squadron, or he that commands in chief in the
second place, a pennant on the main topmast-head; and the
rear-admiral's squadron the like.[1]

5. If any ship shall be disabled or distressed by loss of masts, shot
under water or the like, so as she is in danger of sinking or taking,
he or the [ship] thus distressed shall make a sign by the weft of his
jack and ensign, and those next to them are strictly required to
relieve them.[1]

6. That if any ship shall be necessitated to bear away from the enemy
to stop a leak or mend what else is amiss, which cannot otherwise be
repaired, he is to put out a pennant on the mizen yard-arm or on the
ensign staff, whereby the rest of the ship's squadron may have notice
what it is for--and if it should be that the admiral or any flagships
should do so, the ships of the fleet or of the respective squadrons
are to endeavour to get up as close in a line between him and the
enemy as they can, having always an eye to defend him in case the
enemy should come to annoy him in that condition.

7. If the admiral should have the wind of the enemy and that other
ships of the fleet are in the wind of the admiral, then upon hoisting
up a blue flag at the mizen yard or mizen topmast, every such ship is
then to bear up into his wake or grain upon pain of severe punishment.
If the admiral be to leeward of the enemy, and his fleet or any part
thereof to leeward of him, to the end such ships may come up into a
line with the admiral, if he shall put abroad a flag as before and
bear up, none that are to leeward are to bear up, but to keep his or
their ship or ships luff, thereby to gain his wake or grain.

8. If the admiral would have any of the ships to make sail or
endeavour by tacking or otherwise to gain the wind of the enemy, he
will put up a red flag upon the spritsail, topmast shrouds, forestay,
or fore topmast-stay. He that first discovers this signal shall make
sail, and hoist and lower his jack and ensign, that the rest of the
ships may take notice thereof and follow.

9. If we put a red flag on the mizen shrouds or the mizen yard-arm,
we would have all the flagships to come up in the wake or grain of us.

10. If in time of fight God shall deliver any of the enemy's ships
into our power by their being disabled, the commanders of his
majesty's ships in condition of pursuing the enemy are not during
fight to stay, take, possess, or burn any of them, lest by so doing
the opportunity of more important service be lost, but shall expect
command from the flag officers for doing thereof when they shall see
fit to command it.

11. None shall fire upon ships of the enemy that is laid on board by
any of our own ships but so as he may be sure he doth not endamage his
friends.

12. That it is the duty of all commanders and masters of the small
frigates, ketches and smacks belonging to the several squadrons to
know the fireships belonging to the enemy, and accordingly by
observing their motion do their utmost to cut off their boats if
possible, or if opportunity be that they lay them on board, seize and
destroy them, and for this purpose they are to keep to wind[ward] of
the squadron in time of service. But in case they cannot prevent the
fireships from coming aboard of us by clapping between them and us,
which by all means possible they are to endeavour, that then in such
case they show themselves men in such an exigent and steer on board
them, and with their boats, grapnels, and other means clear them from
us, and destroy them; which service if honourably done to its merit
shall be rewarded, and the neglect thereof strictly and severely
called to an account.

13. That the fireships in every squadron endeavour to keep the wind,
and they, with the small frigates, to be as near the great ships as
they can, to attend the signal from the admiral and to act
accordingly. If the admiral hoist up a white flag at the mizen
yard-arm or topmast-head all the small frigates of his squadron are to
come under his stern for orders.

14. If an engagement by day shall continue till night, and the
admiral shall please to anchor, that upon signal given they all anchor
in as good order as may be, the signal being as in the Instructions
for Sailing; and if the admiral please to retreat without anchoring,
then the sign to be by firing of two guns, so near one to the other as
the report may be distinguished, and within three minutes after to do
the like with two guns more.

15. If, the fleet going before the wind, the admiral would have the
vice-admiral and the ships of the starboard quarter to clap by the
wind and come to their starboard tack, then he will hoist upon the
mizen topmast-head a red flag, and in case he would have the
rear-admiral and the ships on the larboard quarter to come to their
larboard tack then he will hoist up a blue flag in the same place.

16. That the commander of any of his majesty's ships suffer not his
guns to be fired until the ship be within distance to [do] good
execution; the contrary to be examined and severely punished by the
court-martial.

FOOTNOTE:
[1] Modified by Article 8 of the 'Additional Instructions,' _post_, p.
127.



_THE DUKE OF YORK, April_ 10 _or_ 18, 1665.

[+Sir Edward Spragge's Sea Book+.[1]]

_Additional Instructions for Fighting_.


1. In all cases of fight with the enemy the commanders of his
majesty's ships are to endeavour to keep the fleet in one line, and as
much as may be to preserve the order of battle which shall have been
directed before the time of fight.[2]

2. If the enemy stay to fight us, we having the wind, the headmost
squadron of his majesty's fleets shall steer for the headmost of the
enemy's ships.

3. If the enemy have the wind of us and come to fight us, the
commanders of his majesty's fleet shall endeavour to put themselves in
one line close upon a wind.

4. In the time of fight in reasonable weather, the commanders of his
majesty's fleet shall endeavour to keep about the distance of half a
cable's length one from the other,[3] but so as that according to
the discretion of the commanders they vary that distance according as
the weather shall be, and the occasion of succouring our own or
assaulting the enemy's ships shall require.

5. The flag officers shall place themselves according to such order of
battle as shall be given.

6. None of the ships of his majesty's fleet shall pursue any small
number of ships of the enemy before the main [body] of the enemy's
fleet shall be disabled or shall run.

7. In case of chase none of his majesty's fleet or ships shall chase
beyond sight of the flag, and at night all chasing ships are to return
to the flag.

8. In case it shall please God that any of his majesty's ships be
lamed in fight, not being in probability of sinking nor encompassed by
the enemy, the following ships shall not stay under pretence of
securing them, but shall follow their leaders and endeavour to do what
service they can upon the enemy, leaving the securing of the lame
ships to the sternmost of our ships, being [assured] that nothing but
beating the body of the enemy's fleet can effectually secure the lame
ships. This article is to be observed notwithstanding any seeming
contradiction in the fourth or fifth articles of the [fighting]
instructions formerly given.

9. When the admiral would have the van of his fleet to tack first,
the admiral will put abroad the union flag at the staff of the fore
topmast-head if the red flag be not abroad; but if the red flag be
abroad then the fore topsail shall be lowered a little, and the union
flag shall be spread from the cap of the fore topmast downwards.

10. When the admiral would have the rear of the fleet to tack first,
the union flag shall be put abroad on the flagstaff of the mizen
topmast-head; and for the better notice of these signals through the
fleet, each flagship is upon sight of either of the said signals to
make the said signals, that so every ship may know what they are to
do, and they are to continue out the said signals until they be
answered. Given under my hand the 10th of April, 1665, from on board
the Royal Charles.

   By command of his royal highness.
                             WM. COVENTRY.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Also in Moulton's Sea Book, _Harl. MSS._ 1247, f. 52 but are there
dated April 18, differently numbered, and signed 'James.'

[2] This is Article 17 of the complete set, which was modified by
Rupert's subsequent order of 1666. See p. 130.

[3] It is interesting to note that the distance adopted by D'Estrees and
Tourville for the French service was a full cable. See Hoste, p. 65.



_THE DUKE OF YORK'S SUPPLEMENTARY ORDER, April 27, 1665_.

[+Penn's Tracts, Sloane MSS. 3232, f. 83+.]

_Additional Instructions for Fighting_.[1]


[1.] When the admiral would have all the ships to fall into the order
of 'Battailia' prescribed, the union flag shall be put into the mizen
peak of the admiral ship; at sight whereof the admirals of [the] other
squadrons are to answer it by doing the like.

[2.] When the admiral would have the other squadrons to make more
sail, though he himself shorten sail, a white ensign shall be put on
the ensign staff of the admiral ship.

_For Chasing_.[2]

[1.] When the admiral shall put a flag striped with white and red upon
the fore topmast-head, the admiral of the white squadron shall send
out ships to chase; when on the mizen topmast-head the admiral of the
blue squadron shall send out ships to chase.

[2.] If the admiral shall put out a flag striped with white and red
upon any other place, that ship of the admiral's own division whose
signal for call is a pennant in that place shall chase, excepting the
vice-admiral and rear-admiral of the admiral's squadron.

[3.] If a flag striped red and white upon the main topmast shrouds
under the standard, the vice-admiral of the red is to send ships to
chase.

If the flag striped red and white be hoisted on the ensign staff the
rear-admiral of the red is to send ships to chase.

On board the Royal Charles, 27 April, 1665.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] This is preceded by an additional 'Sailing Instruction,' with
signals for cutting and slipping by day or night.

[2] Also in Capt. Moulton's Sea Book (_Harl. MSS._ 1247, p. 51_b_),
headed 'James Duke of York &c. Additional Instructions for Sailing.' At
foot it has 'given under my hand on board the Royal Charles this 24 of
April, 1665. James,' and the articles are numbered 9 to 12, No. 3 above
forming 11 and 12.



_PRINCE RUPERT_, 1666.

[+Sir Edward Spragge's Sea Book+.]

_Additional Instructions for Fighting_.


1st. In case of an engagement the commander of every ship is to have a
special regard to the common good, and if any flagship shall, by any
accident whatsoever, stay behind or [be] likely to lose company, or be
out of his place, then all and every ship or ships belonging to such
flag is to make all the way possible to keep up with the admiral of
the fleet and to endeavour the utmost that may be the destruction of
the enemy, which is always to be made the chiefest care.

This instruction is strictly to be observed, not-withstanding the
seventeenth article in the Fighting Instructions formerly given
out.[1]

2ndly. When the admiral of the fleet makes a weft with his flag, the
rest of the flag officers are to do the like, and then all the best
sailing ships are to make what way they can to engage the enemy, that
so the rear of our fleet may the better come up; and so soon as the
enemy makes a stand then they are to endeavour to fall into the best
order they can.[2]

3rdly. If any flagship shall be so disabled as not to be fit for
service, the flag officer or commander of such ship shall remove
himself into any other ship of his division at his discretion, and
shall there command and wear the flag as he did in his own.

                                        RUPERT.

For Sir Edward Spragge, Knt., vice-admiral of the blue squadron.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Meaning, of course, Article 1 of the 'Additional Instructions' of
April 18, 1665, which would be No. 17 when the orders were collected and
reissued as a complete set. No copy of the complete set to which Rupert
refers is known to be extant.

[2] It should be noted that this instruction anticipates by a century
the favourite English signals of the Nelson period for bringing an
unwilling enemy to action, _i.e._ for general chase, and for ships to
take suitable station for neutral support and engage as they get up.




PART VI

THE THIRD DUTCH WAR TO THE REVOLUTION

I. THE DUKE OF YORK, 1672-3

II. SIR JOHN NARBROUGH, 1678

III. THE EARL OF DARTMOUTH, 1688



PROGRESS OF TACTICS DURING THE THIRD DUTCH WAR

INTRODUCTORY


For the articles issued by the Duke of York at the outbreak of the
Third Dutch War in March 1672 we are again indebted to Lord
Dartmouth's naval manuscripts. They exist there, copied into the
beginning of an 'Order Book' which by internal evidence is shown to
have belonged to Sir Edward Spragge. It is similar to the so-called
'Royal Charles Sea Book,' and is nearly all blank, but contains two
orders addressed by Rupert to Spragge, April 29 and May 22, 1673, and
a resolution of the council of war held on board the Royal Charles on
May 27, deciding to attack the Dutch fleet in the Schoonveldt and to
take their anchorage if they retired into Flushing.

The orders are not dated, but, as they are signed 'James' and
countersigned 'M. Wren,' their date can be fixed to a time not later
than the spring of 1672, for Dr. Matthew Wren, F.R.S., died on June 14
in that year, having served as the lord admiral's secretary since
1667, when Coventry resigned his commissionership of the navy. They
consist of twenty-six articles, which follow those of the late war so
closely that it has not been thought worth while to print them except
in the few cases where they vary from the older ones.

They are accompanied however in the 'Sea Book' by three 'Further
Instructions,' which do not appear in any previous set. They are of
the highest importance and mark a great stride in naval tactics, a
stride which owing to Granville Penn's error is usually supposed to
have been taken in the previous war. For the first time they
introduced rules for engaging when the two fleets get contact on
opposite tacks, and establish the much-abused system of stretching the
length of the enemy's line and then bearing down together. But it must
be noted that this rule only applies to the case where the fleets are
approaching on opposite tacks and the enemy is to leeward. There is
also a peremptory re-enunciation of the duty of keeping the line and
the order enforced by the penalty of death for firing 'over any of our
own ships.' Here then we have apparently a return to the Duke of
York's belief in formal tactics, and it is highly significant that,
although the twenty-six original articles incorporate and codify all
the other scattered additional orders of the last war, they entirely
ignore those issued by Monck and Rupert during the Four Days' Battle.

We have pretty clear evidence of the existence at this period of two
schools of tactical opinion, which after all is no more than
experience would lead us to suspect, and which Pepys's remarks have
already indicated. As usual there was the school, represented by the
Duke of York and Penn, which inclined to formality, and by pedantic
insistence on well-meant principles tended inevitably to confuse the
means with the end. On the other hand we have the school of Monck and
Rupert, which was inclined anarchically to submit all rules to the
solvent of hard fighting, and to take tactical risks and unfetter
individual initiative to almost any extent rather than miss a chance
of overpowering the enemy by a sudden well-timed blow. Knowing as we
do the extent to which the principles of the Duke of York's school
hampered the development of fleet tactics till men like Hawke and
Nelson broke them down, we cannot but sympathise with their
opponents. Nor can we help noting as curiously significant that
whereas it was the soldier-admirals who first introduced formal
tactics, it was a seaman's school that forced them to pedantry in the
face of the last of the soldier-school, who tried to preserve their
flexibility, and keep the end clear in view above the means they had
invented.

Still it would be wrong to claim that either school was right. In
almost every department of life two such schools must always exist,
and nowhere is such conflict less inevitable than in the art of war,
whether by sea or land. Yet just as our comparatively high degree of
success in politics is the outcome of the perpetual conflict of the
two great parties in the state, so it is probably only by the conflict
of the two normal schools of naval thought that we can hope to work
out the best adjusted compromise between free initiative and
concentrated order.

It was the school of Penn and the Duke of York that triumphed at the
close of these great naval wars. The attempt of Monck and Rupert to
preserve individual initiative and freedom to seize opportunities was
discarded, and for nearly a century formality had the upper hand. Yet
the Duke of York must not be regarded as wholly hostile to initiative
or unwilling to learn from his rivals. The second and most remarkable
of the new instructions acquits him. This is the famous article in
which was first laid down the principle of cutting off a part of the
enemy's fleet and 'containing' the rest.

Though always attributed to the Duke of York it seems almost certainly
to have been suggested by the tactics of Monck and Rupert on the last
day of the Four Days' Battle, June 4, 1666. According to the official
account, they sighted the Dutch early in the morning about five
leagues on their weather-bow, with the wind at SSW. 'At eight
o'clock,' it continues, 'we came up with them, and they having the
weather-gage put themselves in a line to windward of us. Our ships
then which were ahead of Sir Christopher Myngs [who was to lead the
fleet] made an easy sail, and when they came within a convenient
distance lay by; and the Dutch fleet having put themselves in order we
did the like. Sir Christopher Myngs, vice-admiral of the prince's
fleet, with his division led the van. Next his highness with his own
division followed, and then Sir Edward Spragge, his rear-admiral; and
so stayed for the rest of the fleet, which came up in very good
order. By such time as our whole fleet was come up we held close upon
a wind, our starboard tacks aboard, the wind SW and the enemy bearing
up to fall into the middle of our line with part of their fleet. At
which, as soon as Sir Christopher Myngs had their wake, he tacked and
stood in, and then the whole line tacked in the wake of him and stood
in. But Sir C. Myngs in fighting being put to the leeward, the prince
thought fit to keep the wind, and so led the whole line through the
middle of the enemy, the general [Monck] with the rest of the fleet
following in good order.'

The account then relates how brilliantly Rupert fought his way
through, and proceeds, 'After this pass, the prince being come to the
other side and standing out, so that he could weather the end of their
fleet, part of the enemy bearing up and the rest tacking, he tacked
also, and his grace [Monck] tacking at the same time bore up to the
ships to the leeward, the prince following him; and so we stood along
backward and forward, the enemy being some to windward and some to
leeward of us; which course we four times repeated, the enemy always
keeping the greatest part of their fleet to windward, but still at so
much distance as to be able to reach our sails and rigging with their
shot and to keep themselves out of reach of our guns, the only
advantage they thought fit to take upon us at this time. But the
fourth time we plying them very sharply with our leeward guns in
passing, their windward ships bore up to relieve their leeward party;
upon which his highness tacked a fifth time and with eight or ten
frigates got to the windward of the enemy's whole fleet, and thinking
to bear in upon them, his mainstay and main topmast being terribly
shaken, came all by the board.' Monck not being able to tack for
wounded masts 'made up to the prince,' and then the Dutch, after a
threat to get between the two admirals, suddenly bore away before the
wind for Flushing.[1]

The manoeuvre by which Myngs attempted from to windward to divide the
enemy's fleet and so gain the wind of part of it seems to be exactly
what the new instruction contemplated, while its remarkable provision
for a containing movement seems designed to prevent the disastrous
confusion that ensued after the Dutch line had been broken. This
undoubtedly is the great merit of the new instruction, and it is the
first time, so far as is known, that the principle of containing was
ever enunciated. In this it compares favourably with everything we
know of until Nelson's famous memorandum. Its relations to Rodney's
and Howe's manoeuvres for breaking the line must be considered
later. For the present it will suffice to note that it seems designed
rather as a method of gaining the wind than as a method of
concentration, and that the initiation of the manoeuvre is left to the
discretion of the leading flag officer, and cannot be signalled by the
commander-in-chief.

As to the date at which these three 'Further Instructions' were first
drawn up there is some difficulty. It is possible that they were not
entirely new in 1672, but that their origin, at least in design, went
back to the close of the Second War. In Spragge's first 'Sea Book'
there is another copy of them identical except for a few verbal
differences with those in the second 'Sea Book.' In the first 'Sea
Book' they appear on the back of a leaf containing some 'Sailing
Instructions by the Duke of York,' which are dated November 16, 1666,
and this is the latest date in the book. Moreover in this copy they
are headed 'Additional Instructions to be observed in the next
engagement,' as though they were the outcome of a previous
action. Now, as Wren died on June 10 (o.s.), and the battle of
Solebay, the first action of the Third War, was fought on May 28
(o.s.), it is pretty clear that it must have been the Second War and
not the Third that was in Spragge's mind at the time. Still if we have
to put them as early as November 1666 it leaves the question much
where it was. Besides the idea of containing the main body of the
enemy after cutting off part of his fleet, the death penalty for
firing over the line is obviously designed to meet certain regrettable
incidents known to have occurred in the Four Days' Battle. Nor is
there any evidence that they were used in the St. James's fight of
July 25, and as this was the last action in the war fought, the 'next
engagement' did not take place till the Third War. It is fairly clear
therefore that we must regard these remarkable orders as resulting
from the experience of the Second War, and as having been first put in
force during the Third one.

After the battle of Solebay these supplementary articles were
incorporated into the regular instructions as Articles 27 to 29. This
appears from a MS. book belonging to Lord Dartmouth entitled 'Copies
of instructions and other papers relating to the fleets. Anno 1672' It
contains a complete copy of both Sailing and Fighting Instructions,
with a detailed 'order of sailing' for the combined Anglo-French
fleet, dated July 2, 1672, and a corresponding 'order of battle' dated
August 1672. It also contains the flag officers' reports made to the
Duke of York after the battle.

Instructions for the 'Encouragement for the captains and companies of
fireships, small frigates, and ketches,' now appear for the first
time, and were repeated in some form or other in all subsequent
orders.

Finally, it has been thought well to reprint from Granville Penn's
_Memorials of Penn_ the complete set of articles which he gives
in Appendix L. No date is attached to them; Granville Penn merely says
they were subsequent to 1665, and has thereby left an unfortunate
impression, adopted by himself and almost every naval historian, both
British and foreign, that followed him, that they were used in the
campaign of 1666, that is, in the Second Dutch War. From the fact
however that they incorporate the 'Further Instructions for Fighting'
countersigned by Wren, we know that they cannot have been earlier than
1667, while the newly discovered MS. of Lord Dartmouth makes it
practically certain they must have been later than August 1672. We may
even go further.

For curiously enough there is no evidence that these orders, on which
so much doubtful reasoning has been based, were ever in force at all
as they stand. No signed copy of them is known to exist. The copy
amongst the Penn papers in the British Museum which Granville Penn
followed is a draft with no signature whatever. It is possible
therefore that they were never signed. In all probability they were
completed by James early in 1673 for the coming campaign, but had not
actually been issued when, in March of that year, the Test Act
deprived him of his office of lord high admiral, and brought his
career as a seaman to an end. What orders were used by his successor
and rival Rupert is unknown.

Of even higher interest than this last known set of the Duke of York's
orders are certain additions and observations which were subsequently
appended to them by an unknown hand. As it has been found impossible
to fix with certainty either their date or author, I have given them
by way of notes to the text. They are to be found in a beautifully
written and richly bound manuscript in the Admiralty Library. At the
end of the volume, following the Instructions, are diagrammatic
representations of certain actions in the Third Dutch War, finely
executed in water-colour to illustrate the formation for attack, and
to every plan are appended tactical notes relating to the actions
represented, and to others which were fought in the same way. The
first one dealt with is the 'St. James's Fight,' fought on July 25,
1666, and the dates in the tactical notes, as well as in the
'Observations' appended to the articles, range as far as the last
action fought in 1673. The whole manuscript is clearly intended as a
commentary on the latest form of the duke's orders, and it may safely
be taken as an expression of some tactician's view of the lessons that
were to be drawn from his experience of the Dutch Wars.

As to the authorship, the princely form in which the manuscript has
been preserved might suggest they were James's own meditations after
the war; but the tone of the 'Observations,' and the curious revival
of the word 'general' for 'commander-in-chief,' are enough to negative
such an attribution. Other indications that exist would point to
George Legge, Lord Dartmouth. His first experience of naval warfare
was as a volunteer and lieutenant under his cousin, Sir Edward
Spragge, in 1665. Spragge was in fact his 'sea-daddy,' and with one
exception all the examples in the 'Observations' are taken from
incidents and movements in which Spragge was the chief actor. One long
observation is directed to precautions to be taken by flag officers in
shifting their flags in action, so as to prevent a recurrence of the
catastrophe which cost Spragge his life. Indeed, with the exception of
Jordan, Spragge is the only English admiral mentioned. Dartmouth was
present at all the actions quoted, and succeeded in constituting
himself a sufficient authority on naval affairs to be appointed in
1683 to command the first important fleet that was sent out after the
termination of the war. These indications however are far too slight
to fix him with the authorship, and his own orders issued in 1688 go
far to rebut the presumption.[2]

Another possible author is Arthur Herbert, afterwards Lord
Torrington. He too had served a good deal under Spragge, and had been
present at all the battles named. This conjecture would explain the
curious expression used in the observation to the seventh instruction,
'The battle fought in 1666.' There was of course more than one battle
fought in 1666, but Herbert was only present in that of July 25th, the
'St. James's Fight,' represented in the manuscript--and it was his
first action. But here again all is too vague for more than a mere
guess.

But whoever was the author, the manuscript is certainly inspired by
someone of position who had served in the last two Dutch Wars, and its
undeniable importance is that it gives us clearly the development of
tactical thought which led to the final form of Fighting Instructions
adopted under William III, and continued till the end of the
eighteenth century. The developments which it foreshadows will
therefore be best dealt with when we come to consider those
instructions. For the present it will be sufficient to note the
changes suggested. In the first place we have a desire to simplify
signals and to establish repeating ships. Secondly, for the sake of
clearness the numbering of the articles is changed, every paragraph to
which a separate signal is attached being made a separate instruction,
so that with new instructions we have thirty-three articles instead of
James's twenty-four. Thirdly, we have three new instructions
proposed: viz., No. 5, removing from flag officers the right to divide
the enemy's fleet at their discretion without signal from the admiral;
No. 8, giving a signal for any squadron that has weathered part of the
enemy by dividing or otherwise to bear down and come to close action;
and No. 17, for such a squadron to bear down through the enemy's line
and rejoin the admiral. All of these rules are obviously the outcome
of known incidents in the late war. There are also suggested additions
or alterations to the old articles to the following effect: (1) When
commanders are in doubt or out of sight of the admiral, they are to
press the headmost ships of the enemy all they can; (2) When the enemy
'stays to fight' they are to concentrate on his weathermost ships,
instead of his headmost, as under the old rule; (3) Finally, while
preserving the line, they are to remember that their first duty is 'to
press the weathermost ships and relieve such as are in distress.'

It is this last addition to the Duke of York's sixteenth article that
contains the pith of the author's ideas. All his examples are chosen
to show that the system of bearing down together from windward in a
line parallel to that of the enemy is radically defective, even if all
the advantages of position and superior force are with you, and for
this reason--that if you succeed in defeating part of the enemy's line
you cannot follow up your success with the victorious part of your own
without sacrificing your advantage of position, and giving the enemy a
chance of turning the tables on you. Thus, if your rear defeats the
enemy's rear and follows it up, your own line will be broken, and as
your rear in pressing its beaten opponents falls to leeward of the
enemy's centre and van it will expose itself to a fatal
concentration. His own view of the proper form of attack from windward
is to bear down upon the van or weathermost ships of the enemy in line
ahead on a course oblique to the enemy's line. In this way, he points
out, you can concentrate on the ships attacked, and as they are beaten
you can deal with the next in order. For so long as you keep your own
line intact and in good order, regardless of your rear being at first
too distant to engage, you will always have fresh ships coming into
action at the vital point, and will thus be able gradually to roll up
the enemy's line without ever disturbing your own order. Fortifying
himself with the reflection that 'there can be no greater
justification than matter of fact,' he proceeds to instance various
battles in the late wars to show that this oblique form of attack
always led to a real victory, whereas whenever the parallel form was
adopted, though in some cases we had everything in our favour and had
fairly beaten the Dutch, yet no decisive result was obtained.

From several points of view these observations are of high
interest. Not only do they contain the earliest known attempt to get
away from the unsatisfactory method of engaging in parallel lines ship
to ship, but in seeking a substitute for it they seem to foreshadow
the transition from the Elizabethan idea of throwing the enemy into
confusion to the eighteenth century idea of concentration on his most
vulnerable part. In so far as the author recommends a concentration on
the weathermost ships his idea is sound, as they were the most
difficult for the enemy to support; but since the close-hauled line
had come in, they were also the van, and a concentration on the van is
theoretically unsound, owing to the fact that the centre and rear came
up naturally to its relief. To this objection he appears to attach no
weight, partly because no doubt he was still influenced by the old
intention of throwing the enemy into confusion.[3] For since the
line ahead had taken the place of the old close formations it seemed
that to disable the leading ships came to the same thing as disabling
the weathermost. The solution eventually arrived at was of course a
concentration on the rear, but to this at the time there were
insuperable objections. The rear was normally the most leewardly end
of the line, and an oblique attack on it could be parried by wearing
together. The rear then became the van, and the attack if persisted in
would fall on the leading squadron with the rest of the fleet to
windward--the worst of all forms of attack. The only possible way
therefore of concentrating on the rear was to isolate it and contain
the van by cutting the line. But in the eyes of our author and his
school cutting the line stood condemned by the experience of war.[4]

In his 'Observations' he clearly indicates the reasons. He would
indeed forbid the manoeuvre altogether except when your own line
outstretches that of the enemy, or when you are forced to pass through
the enemy's fleet to save yourself from being pressed on a lee
shore. The reasons given are the disorder it generally causes, the
ease with which it is parried, and the danger of your own ships firing
on each other when as the natural consequence of the manoeuvre they
proceed to double on the enemy. The fact is that fleet evolutions were
still in too immature a condition for so difficult a manoeuvre to be
admissible. Presumably therefore our author chose the attack on the
weathermost ships, although they were also the van, as the lesser evil
in spite of its serious drawbacks.

The whole question of the principles involved in his suggestion is
worthy of the closest consideration. For the difficulty it reveals of
effecting a sound form of concentration without breaking the line as
well as of adopting any form that involved breaking the line gives us
the key of that alleged reaction of tactics in the eighteenth century
which has been so widely ridiculed.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The original draft corrected by Lord Addington, principal
secretary of state, is in _S.P. Domestic_, Car. II, 158.

[2] See _post_, p. 170.

[3] _Cf_. Hoste's second Remark, _post_, p. 180.

[4] In the Instructions which Sir Chas. H. Knowles drew up about 1780,
for submission to the Admiralty he has at p. 16 a remark upon rear
concentration which helps us to see what was in the author's mind. It is
as follows: 'N.B.--In open sea the enemy (if of equal force) will never
suffer you to attack their rear, but will pass you on opposite tacks to
prevent your doing it: therefor the attempt is useless and only losing
time.'



_THE DUKE OF YORK_, 1672.[1]

[+Spragge's Second Sea Book. Dartmouth MSS.+]

_Instructions for the better ordering of his majesty's fleet in
fighting_.


1. Discovery of a fleet, striking the admiral's flag and making a
weft.[2]

2. To come into the order of battle.[2]

3. A red flag on the fore topmast-head, to engage.[2]

4. If overcharged or distressed, a pennant.[2]

5. Ditto, a weft with his jack and ensign.[2]

6. A pennant on the mizen peak or ensign staff if any ship bear away
from the enemy to stop a leak.

If any ship shall be necessitated to bear away from the enemy to stop
a leak or mend what is amiss which cannot otherwise be repaired, he is
to put out a pennant on the mizen peak or ensign staff, whereby the
rest of that ship's squadron may have notice what it is for; and if
the admiral or any flagship should be so, the ships of the fleet or of
the respective squadrons are to endeavour to get up as close in line
between him and the enemy as they can, having always an eye to defend
him in case the enemy should come to annoy him in that condition; and
in case any flagship or any other ship in the fleet shall be forced to
go out of the line for stopping of leaks or repairing any other
defects in the ships, then the next immediate ships are forthwith to
endeavour to close the line either by making or shortening sail, or by
such other ways and means as they shall find most convenient for doing
of it; and if any ship, be it flagship or other that shall happen to
be disabled and go out of the line, then all the small craft shall
come in to that ship's assistance, upon signal made of her being
disabled. If any of the chief flagships or other flagships shall
happen to be so much disabled as that thereby they shall be rendered
unable for present service, in such case any chief flag officer may
get on board any other ship which he may judge most convenient in his
own squadron, and any other flag officer in that case may go on board
any ship in his division.

7. A blue flag on the mizen yard or topmast.[3]

8. To make sail, a red flag on the spritsail, topmast shrouds,
&c.[3]

9. A red flag on the mizen shrouds, to come into the wake or grain of
us.[3]

10. Not to endanger one another.[4]

11. The small craft to attend the motion of the enemy's
fireships.[4]

12. A white flag on the mizen yard-arm or topmast-head, all the small
frigates of the admiral's squadron.[4]

13. To retreat, four guns.[4]

14. None to fire guns till within distance.[5]

15. For the larboard and starboard tacks.[6]

16. To keep the line.[7]

17. If we have the wind of the enemy.[7]

18. If the enemy have the wind of us.[7]

19. The distance of each ship in time of fight.[8]

20. Not to pursue any small number of enemy's ships.[9]

21. For leaving chase.[9]

22. If any ship be disabled in fight.[9]

23. The van of the fleet to tack first.[9]

24. The rear of the fleet to tack first.[9]

25. To fall into the order of battle.[10]

26. To make sail.[10]

JAMES.

By command of his royal highness.

M. WREN.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] This set of orders has marginal rubrics indicating the contents of
each article, and where the article does not differ from the orders of
1665 I have given the rubric only in the text.

[2] Identical with corresponding article of April 10, 1665.

[3] Same as corresponding article of April 10, 1665. Article 10 of
those instructions relating to 'not staying to take possession of
disabled ships' is here omitted.

[4] These four articles are identical with 11, 12, 13 and 14 of April
10, 1665.

[5] Same as Article 16 of April 10, 1665.

[6] Same as Article 15 of April 10, 1665.

[7] These three articles are the same as 1, 2, and 3, of 'Additional
Instructions' of April 18, 1665. The complete set used by Monck and
Rupert in 1666 must have been numbered as above.

[8] Same as 4 and 5 of 'Additional Instructions,' April 18,1665.

[9] These five articles are the same as 6 to 10 of the 'Additional
Instructions,' April 18, 1665.

[10] These two articles are the same as the two 'Additional
Instructions' of April 27, 1665.



_THE DUKE OF YORK'S SUPPLEMENTARY ORDERS_, 1672.

[+Spragge's Second Sea Book. Dartmouth MSS.+]

_Further Instructions for Fighting_.


1. To keep the enemy to leeward.

In case we have the wind of the enemy, and that the enemy stands
towards us and we towards them, then the van of our fleet shall keep
the wind, and when _the rear comes_[1] to a convenient distance
of the enemy's rear shall stay until our whole line is come up within
the same distance of the enemy's van, and then our whole line is to
stand along with them the same tacks on board, still keeping the enemy
to leeward, and not suffering them to tack in the van, and in case the
enemy tack in the rear first, then he that leads the van of our fleet
is to tack first, and the whole line is to follow, standing all along
with the same tacks on board as the enemy does.

2. To divide the enemy's fleet.

In case the enemy have the wind of us and we have sea-room enough,
then we are to keep the wind as close as we can lie until such time as
we see an opportunity by gaining their wakes to divide their fleet;
and if the van of our fleet find that they have the wake of any part
of them, they are to tack and to stand in, and strive to divide the
enemy's body, and that squadron which shall pass first being come to
the other side is to tack again, and the middle squadron is to bear up
upon that part of the enemy so divided, which the last is to second,
either by bearing down to the enemy or by endeavouring to keep off
those that are to windward, as shall be best for service.

3. To keep the line.

The several commanders of the fleet are to take special care that they
keep their line, and upon pain of death that they fire not over any of
our own ships.

(Signed)    JAMES.
By command of his royal highness.

(Signed)    M. WREN.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] This must be a copyist's error. In Lord Dartmouth's MS. book (see
_ante_, p. 139) it reads 'when they are come.'



__THE DUKE OF YORK_, 1672-3_.

[+Spragge's Second Sea Book. Dartmouth MSS.+]

_Encouragement for the captains and companies of fireships, small
frigates and ketches_.


Although it is the duty of all persons employed in his majesty's fleet
even to the utmost hazard of their lives to endeavour as well the
destroying of his majesty's enemies, as the succouring of his
majesty's subjects, and in most especial manner to preserve and defend
his majesty's ships of war (the neglect whereof shall be at all times
strictly and severely punished), nevertheless, that no inducement may
be wanting which may oblige all persons serving in his majesty's
service valiantly and honourably to acquit themselves in their several
stations, we have thought fit to publish and declare, and do hereby
promise on his majesty's behalf:

That if any of his majesty's fireships perform the service expected of
them in such manner that any of the enemy's ships of war of forty guns
or more shall be burnt by them, every person remaining in the fireship
till the service be performed shall receive on board the admiral,
immediately after the service done, ten pounds as a reward for that
service over and above his pay due to him; and in case any of them
shall be killed in that service it shall be paid to his executors or
next relation over and above the ordinary provision made for the
relations of such as are slain in his majesty's service; and the
captains of such fireships shall receive a medal of gold to remain as
a token of honour to him and his posterity, and shall receive such
other encouragement by preferment and command as shall be fit to
reward him, and induce others to perform the like service. The
inferior officers shall receive each ten pounds in money and be taken
care of, and placed in other ships before any persons whatsoever.

In case any of the enemy's flagships shall be so fired, the recompense
shall be double to each man performing it, and the medal to the
commander shall be such as shall particularly express the eminence of
the service, and his and the other officers' preferments shall be
suitable to the merit of it.

If any of his majesty's fifth or sixth rate frigates, or any ketches,
smacks or hoys in his majesty's service, shall board or destroy any
fireships of the enemy, and so prevent any of them from going on board
any of his majesty's ships, above the fifth rate, besides the
preferment which shall be given to the commanders and officers of such
ships performing such service answerable to the merit, the companies
of such ships or vessels, or in case they shall be killed in that
service, their executors or nearest relations, shall receive to every
man forty shillings as a reward, and such persons who shall by the
testimony of the commanders appear to have been eminently instrumental
in such service shall receive a further reward according to their
merit.

If the masters of any ketches, hoys, smacks, and other vessels hired
for his majesty's service shall endeavour to perform any of the
services aforesaid, and shall by such his attempt lose his vessel or
ship, the full reward thereof shall be paid by the treasurer of his
majesty's navy, upon certificate of the service done by the council of
war, and the said commanders and men serving in her shall receive the
same recompense with those serving in his majesty's ships or vessels.

JAMES.[1]

By command of his royal highness.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] In Capt. Moulton's Sea Book _(Harleian MSS._ 1247, f. 53) is
another copy of these articles which concludes, 'given on board the
Royal Charles the 20th of April 1665. James.' And at foot is written 'a
copy of His Royal Highness's command received from his Excellency the
Earl of Sandwich.' They probably therefore originated in the Second War
and were reissued in the Third.



_FINAL FORM OF THE DUKE OF YORK'S ORDERS, 1673_.

_With the additions and observations subsequently made_.[1]

[+G. Penn, Memorials of Penn+.]

_James, Duke of York and Albany, Earl of Ulster, Lord High Admiral
of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Constable of Dover Castle, Lord
Warden of the Cinque Ports, and Governor of Portsmouth, &c._

_Instructions for the better ordering his majesty's fleet in
fighting_.


Instruction I. Upon discovery of a fleet, and receiving of a signal
from the admiral (which is to be the striking of the admiral's ensign,
and making a weft), such frigates as are appointed (that is to say,
one out of each squadron) are to make sail, and to stand with them, so
nigh as they can conveniently, the better to gain knowledge what they
are, and of what quality; how many fireships, and others; and what
posture their fleet is in; which being done, the frigates are to speak
together, and conclude on the report they are to give; and,
accordingly, to repair to their respective squadrons and
commanders-in-chief; and not to engage (if the enemy's ships exceed
them in number), unless it shall appear to them on the place that they
have an advantage.

Instruction II. At sight of the said fleet, the vice-admiral (or he
who commands in chief in the second place), with his squadron; and the
rear-admiral (or he who commands in chief in the third squadron), with
his squadron; are to make what sail they can to come up, and to put
themselves into that order of battle which shall be given them; for
which the signal shall be the union flag put on the mizen peak of the
admiral's ship; at sight whereof, as well the vice- and rear-admirals
of the red squadron, as the admirals, vice-admirals, and rear-admirals
of the other squadrons, are to answer it by doing the like.

Instruction III. In case the enemy have the wind of the admiral and
fleet, and they have sea-room enough, then they are to keep the wind
as close as they can lie, until such time as they see an opportunity
by gaining their wakes to divide the enemy's fleet; and if the van of
his majesty's fleet find that they have the wake of any considerable
part of them, they are to tack and stand in, and strive to divide the
enemy's body; and that squadron that shall pass first, being got to
windward, is to bear down on those ships to leeward of them; and the
middle squadron is to keep her wind, and to observe the motion of the
enemy's van, which the last squadron is to second; and both of these
squadrons are to do their utmost to assist or relieve the first
squadron that divided the enemy's fleet.[2]

Instruction IV. If the enemy have the wind of his majesty's fleet, and
come to fight them, the commanders of his majesty's ships shall
endeavour to put themselves in one line, close upon a wind, according
to the order of battle.[3]

Instruction V. If the admiral would have any of the fleet to make
sail, or endeavour, by tacking or otherwise, to gain the wind of the
enemy, he will put a red flag upon the spritsail [_sic_], topmast
shrouds, fore-stay, fore topmast-stay; and he who first discovers this
signal shall make sail, and hoist and lower his jack and ensign, that
the rest of the fleet may take notice thereof, and follow.[4]

Instruction VI.[5] If the admiral should have the wind of the enemy
when other ships of the fleet are in the wind of the admiral, then,
upon hoisting up a blue flag at the mizen yard, or mizen topmast,
every ship is to bear up into his wake or grain, upon pain of severe
punishment.

If the admiral be to leeward of the enemy, and his fleet or any part
thereof be to leeward of him, to the end such ships that are to
leeward may come up in a line with the admiral (if he shall put a flag
as before and bear up); none that are to leeward are to bear up, but
to keep his or their ship's luff, thereby to give his ship wake or
grain.

If it shall please God that the enemy shall be put to run, all the
frigates are to make all the sail that possibly they can after them,
and to run directly up their broadsides, and to take the best
opportunity they can of laying them on board; and some ships which are
the heavy sailers (with some persons appointed to command them) are to
keep in a body in the rear of the fleet, that so they may take care of
the enemy's ships which have yielded, and look after the manning of
the prizes.[6]

Instruction VII.[7] In case his majesty's fleet have the wind of the
enemy, and that the enemy stand towards them, and they towards the
enemy, then the van of his majesty's fleet shall keep the wind; and
when they are come within a convenient distance from the enemy's rear,
they shall stay until their whole line is come up within the same
distance from the enemy's van; and then their whole line is to tack
(every ship in his own place), and to bear down upon them so nigh as
they can (without endangering their loss of wind); and to stand along
with them, the same tacks aboard, still keeping the enemy to leeward,
and not suffering them to tack in their van; and in case the enemy
tack in the rear first, he who is in the rear of his majesty's is to
tack first, with as many ships, divisions, or squadrons as are those
of the enemy's; and if all the enemy's ships tack, their whole line is
to follow, standing along with the same tacks aboard as the enemy
doth.

Instruction VIII.[8] If the enemy stay to fight (his majesty's fleet
having the wind), the headmost squadron of his majesty's fleet shall
steer for the headmost of the enemy's ships.[9]

Instruction IX.[10] If, when his majesty's fleet is going before the
wind, the admiral would have the vice-admiral and the ships of the
starboard quarter to clap by the wind and come to their starboard
tack, then he will hoist upon the mizen topmast-head a red flag.

And in case he would have the rear-admiral and the ships of the
larboard quarter to come to their larboard tack, then he will hoist up
a blue flag in the same place.

Instruction X.[11] If the admiral would have the van of the fleet to
tack first, he will put abroad the union flag at the staff on the fore
topmast-head, if the red flag be not abroad; but if the red flag be
abroad, then the fore topsail shall be lowered a little, and the union
flag shall be spread from the cap of the fore topmast downwards.

When the admiral would have the rear of the fleet to tack first, the
union flag shall be put abroad on the flagstaff of the mizen
topmast-head; and for the better notice of these two signals through
the fleet, each flagship is, upon sight of either of the said signals,
to make the same signals, that so every ship may know what they are to
do; and they are to continue out the same signals until they be
answered.[12]

Instruction XI.[13] If the admiral put a red flag on the mizen
shrouds, or the mizen peak, all the flagships are to come up into his
wake or grain.

Instruction XII.[13] When the admiral would have the other squadrons
to make more sail, though himself shorten sail, a white ensign shall
be put on the ensign staff of the admiral's ships.

Instruction XIII.[13] As soon as the fleet shall see the admiral
engage, or make a signal, by putting out a red flag on the fore
topmast-head, each squadron shall take the best advantage to engage
the enemy, according to such order of battle as shall be given them.

Instruction XIV.[13] In time of fight, if the weather be reasonable,
the commanders of his majesty's fleet shall endeavour to keep about
the distance of half a cable one from another; but so as they may also
(according to the direction of their commanders) vary that distance,
as the weather shall prove, and as the occasion of succouring any of
his majesty's ships or of assaulting those of the enemy shall require.

And as for the flag officers, they shall place themselves according to
such order of battle as shall be given.

Instruction XV.[14] No commander of any of his majesty's ships shall
suffer his guns to be fired until the ship be within distance to do
good execution; and whoever shall do the contrary shall be strictly
examined, and severely punished, by a court-martial.

Instruction XVI.[14] In all cases of fight with the enemy, the
commanders of his majesty's ships are to keep the fleet in one line,
and (as much as may be) to preserve the order of battle which they
have been directed to keep before the time of fight.[15]

Instruction XVII.[16] None of the ships of his majesty's fleet shall
pursue any small number of the enemy's ships before the main body of
their fleet shall be disabled, or run.

Instruction XVIII.[16] None shall fire upon the ships of the enemy's
that are laid on board by any of his majesty's ships, but so as he may
be sure he do not endamage his friend.

Instruction XIX.[16] The several commanders in the fleet are to take
special care, upon pain of death, that they fire not over any of their
own ships.

Instruction XX.[17] It is the duty of all commanders of the small
frigates, ketches, and smacks, belonging to the several squadrons (who
are not otherwise appointed by the admiral), to know the fireships
belonging to the enemies, and accordingly observing their motion, to
do their utmost to cut off their boats (if possible); or, if they have
an opportunity, to lay them on board, seize, and destroy them; and, to
this purpose, they are to keep to windward of their squadron, in time
of service. But in case they cannot prevent the fireships from coming
on board of his majesty's ships, by clapping between them (which by
all possible means they are to endeavour), they are in such an exigent
to show themselves men, by steering on board them with their boats,
and, with grapnels and other means, to clear his majesty's ships from
them, and to destroy them. Which service, if honourably performed,
shall be rewarded according to its merit; but if neglected, shall be
strictly examined, and severely punished.[18]

Instruction XXI.[19] The fireships in the several squadrons are to
endeavour to keep the wind; and they (with their small frigates) to be
as near the great ships as they can, attending the signal from the
admiral, and acting accordingly.

If the admiral hoist up a white flag at the mizen yard-arm or
topmast-head, all the small frigates in his squadron are to come under
his stern for orders.

Instruction XXII.[20] In case it should please God that any ships of
his majesty's fleet be lamed in fight, and yet be in no danger of
sinking, nor encompassed by the enemy, the following ships shall not
stay, under pretence of succouring them, but shall follow their
leaders, and endeavour to do what service they can against the enemy;
leaving the succouring of the lame ships to the sternmost of the
fleet; being assured that nothing but beating the body of the enemy's
fleet can effectually secure the lame ships,

Nevertheless, if any ship or ships shall be distressed or disabled, by
loss of mast, shot under water, or the like, so that it is really in
danger of sinking or taking; that or those ship or ships thus
distressed shall make a sign by the weft of his or their jack or
ensign, and those next to them are strictly required to relieve them.

And if any ships or squadron shall happen to be overcharged or
distressed, the next squadron, or ships, are immediately to make
towards their relief and assistance.

And if any ship shall be necessitated to bear away from the enemy, to
stop a leak, or mend what is amiss (which cannot otherwise be
repaired), he is to put a pennant on the mizen peak, or ensign staff,
whereby the rest of that ship's squadron may have notice what it is
for.

If the admiral or any flagship should be so, then the ships of the
fleet, or of the respective squadrons, are to endeavour to get up as
close into a line between him and the enemy as they can; having always
an eye to defend him in case the enemy should come to annoy him in
that condition.

And in case any flagship, or any other ship in the fleet, shall be
forced to go out of the line, for stopping of leaks, or repairing of
any other defect, then the next immediate ships are forthwith to
endeavour to close the line again, either by making or shortening
sail, or by such other ways and means as they shall find most
convenient for doing of it; and all the small craft shall come in to
that ship's assistance, upon a signal made of her being disabled.

And if any of the chief flagships, or other flagships shall happen to
be so much disabled as that they shall be unfit for present service,
in such a case any chief flag officer may go on board any other ship
of his own squadron, as he shall judge most convenient; and any other
flag officer, in that case, may go on board any ship in his
division.[21]

Instruction XXIII.[22] In case of fight, none of his majesty's ships
shall chase beyond sight of the admiral; and at night all chasing
ships are to return to the fleet.

Instruction XXIV.[23] If any engagement by day shall continue till
night, and the admiral shall please to anchor, all the fleet are, upon
a signal, to anchor, in as good, order as may be, which signal will be
the same as in the 'Instructions for Sailing' _(vid._ Instr.
XVIII.); that is to say, the admiral fires two guns, a small distance
one from another, &c.

And if the admiral please to retreat without anchoring, then he will
fire four guns, one after another, so as the report may only be
distinguished; and about three minutes after he will do the like with
four guns more.[24]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The later _Admiralty MS._ is prefaced by the following
_Observation_: 'There have happened several misfortunes and disputes for
want of a sufficient number of signals to explain the general's
pleasure, without which it is not to be avoided; and whereas it hath
often happened for want of a ready putting forth and apprehending to
what intent the signals are made, they are contracted into a shorter
method so that no time might be lost. It is most certain that in all sea
battles the flags or admiral-generals are equally concerned in any
conflict, and no manner of knowledge can be gained how the rest of the
battle goes till such time as it is past recovery. To prevent this let a
person fitly qualified command the reserve, who shall by signals make
known to the general in what condition or posture the other parts of the
fleet are in, he having his station where the whole can best be
discovered, and his signals, answering the general's, may also be
discerned by the rest of the fleet.'

[2] The _Admiralty MS._ has this _Observation_: 'Unless you can
outstretch their headmost ships there is hazard in breaking through the
enemy's line, and [it] commonly brings such disorders in the line of
battle that it may be rather omitted unless an enemy press you near a
lee shore. For if, according to this instruction, when you have got the
wind you are to press the enemy, then those ships which are on each side
of them shall receive more than equal damages from each other's shot if
near, and in case the enemy but observed the seventh instruction--that
is, to tack with equal numbers with you--then is your fleet divided and
not the enemy's.

[3] The _Admiralty MS._ here inserts an additional instruction,
numbered 5, as follows: 'If in time of fight any flagship or squadron
ahead of the fleet hath an opportunity of weathering any of the enemy's
ships, they shall put abroad the same signal the general makes them for
tacking, which, if the general would have them go about, he will answer
by giving the same again, otherwise they are to continue on the same
line or station.'

_Observation_.--'For it may prove not convenient in some cases to break
the line.'

[4] The _Admiralty MS._ adds, 'And as soon as they have the wind to
observe what other signals the general makes; and in case they lose
sight of the general, they are to endeavour to press the headmost ships
of the enemy all they can, or assist any of ours that are annoyed by
them.' The whole makes Instruction VI. of the _Admiralty MS._ An
_Observation_ is attached to the old instruction as follows:--'This
signal was wanting in the battle fought 11th August, 1673. The fourth
squadron followed this instruction and got the wind of the enemy about
four in the afternoon, and kept the wind for want of another signal to
bear down upon the enemy, as Monsieur d'Estrees alleged at the council
of war the next day. For want of this the enemy left only five or six
ships to attend their motion, and pressed the other squadrons of ours to
such a degree they were forced to give way.' _Cf._ note, p. 181.

[5] The _Admiralty MS._ makes of the three paragraphs of this
instruction three separate instructions, numbered 7, 9, and 10, and
inserts after the first paragraph a new instruction numbered 8, with an
_Observation_ appended. It is as follows: _Additional Instruction, No.
VIII.:_ 'When any of his majesty's ships that have gained the wind of
the enemy, and that the general or admiral would have them bear down and
come to a close fight, he will put abroad the same signal as for their
tacking, and hoist and lower the same till it be discerned; at which,
they that are to windward shall answer by bearing down upon the enemy.
_Observation_.--The same in the battle of Solebay, Sir Joseph Jordan got
the wind and kept it for want of a signal or fireships.' This
_Observation_ appears to be intended as a continuation of the previous
one, the new instruction supplies the missing signal there referred to.

[6] The _Admiralty MS._ has this _Observation_: 'The 28th May, '73,
the battle fought in the Schooneveld, the rear-admiral of their fleet
commanded by Bankart (? Adriaen Banckers) upon a signal from De Ruyter
gave way for some time, and being immediately followed by Spragge and
his division, it proved only a design to draw us to leeward, and that De
Ruyter might have the advantage of weathering us. So that for any small
number giving way it is not safe for the like number to go after them,
but to press the others which still maintain the fight according to the
article following.

[7] No.11 in the _Admiralty MS_. with the following _Observation_: 'In
bearing down upon an enemy when you have the wind, or standing towards
them and they towards you, if it is in your power to fall upon any part
of their ships, those to windward will be the most exposed; therefore
you must use your utmost endeavour to ruin that part. The battle fought
in _1666_, the headmost or winderly ships were beaten in three hours and
put to run before half the rest of the fleet were engaged. We suffered
the like on the 4th of June, for Tromp and De Ruyter never bore down to
engage the body of our fleet, but pressed the leading ships where
Spragge and his squadron had like to have been ruined.'

[8] _Admiralty MS._ No. 12.

[9] For 'headmost of the enemy's ships' the _Admiralty MS_. has
'windmost ships of the enemy's fleet, and endeavour all that can be to
force them to leeward.' Also this _Observation_: 'It may happen that the
headmost of their fleet may be the most leewardly, then in such case you
are to follow this instruction, whereas before it was said to stand with
the headmost ships of the enemy.'

[10] _Admiralty MS_. Nos. 13 and 14. It has the _Observation_: 'This
ought to be for each squadron apart.'

[11] _Admiralty MS_. Nos. 15 and l6. To the first paragraph, or No. 15,
it has the _Observation_: 'It may happen that by the winds shifting
there may be neither van nor rear; then in that case a signal for each
squadron would be better understood, so that you are to follow the 14th
and 15th of the "Sailing Instructions." For in the battle of August '73
the wind shifted and put the whole line out of order.'

[12] The _Admiralty MS_. here inserts a new article, No. 17: 'If the
general would have those ships to windward of the enemy to bear down
through their line to join the body of the fleet, he will put abroad a
white flag with a cross from corner to corner where it can best be
discovered.'

[13] _Admiralty MS_. Nos. 18 to 23.

[14] _Admiralty MS_. Nos, 18 to 23.

[15] _Admiralty MS_. adds: 'having regard to press the weathermost
ships and relieve such as are in distress.' It is worth noting that this
important relaxation of strict line tactics practically embodies the
idea of Rupert's Additional Instruction of 1666. _Supra_, p. 129.

[16] _Admiralty MS_. Nos. 24 to 26.

[17] _Admiralty MS_. No. 27. It adds this _Observation_: 'When the
fleet is to leeward of the enemy you to take care to put yourself in
such a station as that you may (when any signal is given) without loss
of time tack and stand in to the line. And when any part of the fleet or
ships wherein you are concerned are ordered to tack and gain the wind of
the enemy, you are to make all the sail you can and keep up with the
headmost ships that first tack.'

[18] _Admiralty MS. 'Observation_: The reward of saving a friend to be
equal to that of destroying an enemy.'

[19] _Admiralty MS._ Nos. 28 and 29.

[20] _Admiralty MS._ No. 30.

[21] The _Admiralty MS._ has the _Observation:_ 'in changing ships be
as careful as you can not to give the enemy any advantage or knowledge
thereof by striking the flag. In case of the death of any flag officer,
the flag to be continued aloft till the fight be over, notice to be
given to the next commander-in-chief, and not to bear out of the line
unless in very great danger. It hath been observed what very great
encouragement the bare shooting of an admiral's flag gives the enemy,
but this may be prevented by taking in all the flags before going to
engage. It was the ruin of Spragge in the battle of August '73 by taking
his flag in his boat, which gave the enemy an opportunity to discover
his motion, when at the same [time] we saw three flags flying on board
the main topmast-head of three ships which Tromp had quitted.'

[22] _Admiralty MS._ No. 31.

[23] _Admiralty MS._ Nos. 32 and 33.

[24] The _Admiralty MS._ has the _Observation_: 'By reason that guns
are not so well to be distinguished at the latter end of a battle from
chose of the enemy, sky-rockets would be proper signals.' This appears
to be the earliest recorded suggestion for the use of rockets for naval
signalling.



II

MEDITERRANEAN ORDERS, 1678

INTRODUCTORY


In 1677 Narbrough had been sent for the second time as
commander-in-chief to the Mediterranean, to deal with the Barbary
corsairs. To enable him to operate more effectively against Tripoli,
arrangements were on foot to establish a base for him at Malta, and
meanwhile he had been using the Venetian port of Zante. It was at this
time that Charles II, in a last effort to throw off the yoke of Louis
XIV, had married his eldest niece, the Princess Mary, to the French
king's arch-enemy William of Orange, and relations between France and
England were at the highest tension. Preparations were set on foot in
the British dockyards for equipping a 'grand fleet' of eighty sail; on
February 15 was issued a new and enlarged commission to Narbrough
making him 'admiral of his majesty's fleet in the Straits'; Sicily,
which the French had occupied, was hurriedly evacuated; Duquesne, who
commanded the Toulon squadron, was expecting to be attacked at any
moment, and Colbert gave him strict orders to keep out of the British
admiral's way.[1]

It will be seen that it was in virtue of his new commission, and in
expectation of encountering a superior French force, that Narbrough
issued his orders, and they may be profitably compared with those of
Lord Sandwich on the eve of the Second Dutch War as the typical
Fighting Instructions for a small British fleet. No collision however
occurred; for Louis could not face the threatened coalition between
Spain, Holland, and England, and was forced to assent to a general
peace, which was signed at Nymwegen in the following September.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] Corbett, _England in the Mediterranean_, ii. 97-104. The official
correspondence will be found in Mr. Tanner's _Calendar of the Pepys
MSS._, vol. i., and in the _Lettres de Colbert_, vol. iii.



_SIR JOHN NARBROUGH_, 1678.

[+Egerton MSS. 2543, f. 839+.]

_Sir John Narbrough, Knight, admiral of his majesty's fleet in the
Mediterranean seas for this expedition.

Instructions for all commanders to place their ships for their better
fighting and securing the whole fleet if a powerful enemy sets upon
us_.


When I hoist my union flag at the mizen peak, I would have every
commander in this fleet place himself in order of sailing and battle
as prescribed, observing his starboard and larboard ship and leader,
either sailing before or by the wind, and so continue sailing in order
so long as the signal is abroad.

In case a powerful squadron of ships falls with our fleet, and will
fight us, and we see it most convenient to fight before the wind, and
the enemy follow us, I would have every commander place his ships in
this order of sailing prescribed as followeth, and so continue sailing
and fighting, doing his utmost to annoy the enemy, so long as shall be
required for defence of himself and whole fleet.

_Larboard side_. Portsmouth frigate.
  Newcastle frigate.
  Samuel and Henry                      30
  Advice                                20
  Diamond.
  Friendship                            12
  Lion                                  20
  Bonaventure.                          11
  John and Joseph                       10
  Pearl frigate.
  Return                                10
  Benjamin and Elizabeth                14
  Concord                               26
  Fountain                               8
  Leopard                               20
  Boneto sloop, Baltam^r.[1]
  Plymouth, Admiral.
  Spragge frigate, Batchelor.[1]
  St. Lucar Merchant                    20
  Prosperous                            30
  Sapphire frigate
  Mary and Martha                       30
  Delight                                9
  Olive Branch                          10
  Italian Merchant                      30
  Tiger                                 30
  James galley
  Dragon                                18
  Samuel and Mary                       24
  Mediterranean                         16
  James Merchant                        20
  King-fisher frigate.
_Starboard side_. Portland frigate.

In case the enemy be to leeward of us, and force us to fight by the
wind, then I would have each ship in this fleet to follow each other
in a line as afore prescribed, either wing leading the van as the
occasion shall require.

In case I would have the van to tack first (in time of service) I will
spread the union flag at the flagstaff at the fore topmast-head, and
if I would have the rear of the fleet to tack first I will spread the
union flag at the flagstaff at the mizen topmast-head, each commander
being [ready] to take notice of the said signals, and to act
accordingly, following each other as prescribed, and be careful to
assist and relieve any that is in necessity.

In case of separation by foul weather, or by any inevitable accident,
and the wind blows hard westerly, then Zante Road is the place
appointed for rendezvous.

Given under my hand and on board his majesty's ship Plymouth, at an
anchor in Zante Road.

This 4th of May, 1678.

JOHN NARBROUGH.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] Neither Baltimore nor Batchelor nor any similar names of
commissioned officers occur in Pepys's Navy List, 1660-88. Tanner, _op.
cit._




III

THE LAST STUART ORDERS

INTRODUCTORY


The next set of orders we have are those drawn up by George Legge,
first Lord Dartmouth, for the fleet with which he was entrusted by
James II, to prevent the landing of William of Orange in 1688. The
only known copy of them is in the _Sloane MSS._ 3650. It is
unfortunately not complete, the last few articles with the date and
signature being missing, so that there is no direct evidence that it
related to this fleet. There can however be no doubt about the
matter. For it is followed by the battle order of a fleet in which
both ships and captains correspond exactly with that which Dartmouth
commanded in 1688. The only other fleet which he commanded was that
which in 1683 proceeded to the Straits to carry out the evacuation of
Tangier, and it was not large enough to require such a set of
instructions.

We know moreover that in this year he did actually draw up some
Fighting Instructions, shortly after September 24, the day his
commission was signed, and that he submitted them to King James for
approval. On October 14 Pepys, in the course of a long official letter
to him from the admiralty, writes: 'His majesty, upon a very
deliberate perusal of your two papers, one of the divisions of your
fleet and the other touching your line of battle, does extremely
approve the same, commanding me to tell you so.[1]

Lord Dartmouth's articles follow those which James had last drawn up
in 1673 almost word for word, and the only alterations of any
importance all refer to the handling of the line in action. There can
be practically no doubt therefore that we here have the instructions
which Pepys refers to, and that the new matter relating to the line of
battle originated with Dartmouth, as the result of a considerable
experience of naval warfare. After leaving Cambridge he joined, at the
age of 17, the ship of his cousin, Sir Edward Spragge, and served with
him as a volunteer and lieutenant throughout the Second Dutch War. In
1667, before he was 20, he commanded the Pembroke, and in 1671 the
Fairfax, in Sir Robert Holmes's action with the Dutch Smyrna fleet,
and in the battle of Solebay. In 1673 he commanded the Royal Catherine
(84), and served throughout Rupert's campaign with distinction. Since
then, as has been said, he had successfully conducted the evacuation
of Tangier. If on this occasion he needed advice he had at hand some
of the best, in the person of his flag officers, Sir Roger Strickland
and Sir John Berry, two of the most seasoned old 'tarpaulins' in the
service, and both in high estimation as naval experts with James.

The amendments introduced into these instructions, although not
extensive, point to a continued development. We note first that
James's Articles 3 and 4 are combined in Dartmouth's Article 3, so as
to ensure the close-hauled line being formed before any attempt is
made to divide the enemy's fleet. No such provision existed in the
previous instructions. Another noteworthy change under the new article
is that, whether by intention or not, any commander of a ship is given
the initiative in weathering a part of the enemy's fleet if he sees an
opportunity. If this was seriously intended it seems to point to a
reaction to the school of Monck and Rupert, perhaps under Spragge's
influence. Dartmouth's next new article, No. 5, for reforming line of
battle as convenient, regardless of the prescribed order of battle,
points in the same direction.

The only other change of importance is the note inserted in the sixth
article, in which Dartmouth lays his finger on one of the weak points
in James's method of attack from windward by bearing down all
together, and suggests a means by which the danger of being raked as
the ships come down may be minimised.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] _Dartmouth MSS. (Historical MSS. Commission_, XI. v. 160.)



_LORD DARTMOUTH, Oct._ 1688.

[+Sloane MSS. 3650, ff. 7-11+.]

_George, Lord Dartmouth, admiral of his majesty's fleet for the
present expedition_.

_Instructions for the better ordering his majesty's fleet in
fighting_.


1 and 2. _[Same as in Duke of York's_, 1673.]

3. If the enemy have the wind of his majesty's fleet, and come to
fight them, the commanders of his majesty's ships shall endeavour to
put themselves into one line as close upon a wind as they can lie,
according to the order of battle given, until such time as they shall
see an opportunity by gaining their wakes to divide the enemy's fleet,
&c. _[rest as in Article 3 of_ 1673].

4. [_Same as_ 5 _of_ 1673.] [1]

5. If the admiral should have the wind of the enemy, when other ships
of the fleet are in the wind of the admiral, then upon hoisting up a
blue flag at the mizen yard or mizen topmast, every such ship is to
bear up into his wake or grain upon pain of severe punishment. In this
case, whether the line hath been broke or disordered by the shifting
of the wind, or otherwise, each ship or division are not unreasonably
to strive for their proper places in the first line of battle given,
but they are to form a line, the best that may be with the admiral,
and with all the expedition that can be, not regarding what place or
division they fall into or between.

If the admiral be to leeward of the enemy, &c. [_rest as in 6
of 1673_].

6. In case his majesty's fleet have the wind of the enemy, and that
the enemy stands towards them and they towards the enemy, then the van
of his majesty's fleet shall keep the wind, and when they are come at
a convenient distance from the enemy's rear they shall stay until
their own whole line is come up within the same distance from the
enemy's van; and then the whole line is to tack, every ship in his own
place, and to bear down upon them so nigh as they can without
endangering the loss of the wind--[Note that they are not to bear down
all at once, but to observe the working of the admiral and to bring to
as often as he thinks fit, the better to bring his fleet to fight in
good order; and at last only to lask away[2] when they come near
within shot towards the enemy as much as may be, and not bringing
their heads to bear against the enemy's broadsides]--and to stand
along with them the same tacks on board, still keeping the enemy to
leeward, and not suffering them to tack in their van. And in case the
enemy tack in the rear first, he who is in the rear of his majesty's
fleet is to tack first with as many ships or divisions as are those of
the enemy's, and if all the enemy's ships tack, their whole line is to
follow, standing along with the same tacks aboard as the enemy doth.

7 to 9. [_Same as 8 to 10 of 1673_.]

10. [_Same as 11 of 1673, but with yellow flag instead of red_.]

11. When the admiral would have the other divisions to make more
sail, though himself shorten sail, a white ensign shall be put on the
ensign staff for the vice-admiral, a blue for the rear, and for both a
striped.

12. As soon as the fleet shall see the admiral engage or make a
signal by putting out a red flag on the fore topmast-head, each
division shall take the best advantage they can to engage the enemy,
according to such order of battle as shall be given them, and no ship
or division whatsoever is upon any pretence to lie by to fight or
engage the enemy whereby to endanger parting the main body of the
fleet till such time as the whole line be brought to fight by this
signal.

13 to 18. [_Same as 14 to 19 of 1673_.]

18. The several commanders in the fleet are to take special care, upon
pain of severe punishment, that they fire not over any of their own
ships.

19. [_Same as 20 of 1673_.]

20. The fireships in their several divisions are to endeavour to keep
the wind, and they with the small frigates to be as near the great
ships as they can, attending the signal and acting accordingly.

21. [_Same as 22 of 1673_.][3]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Article 4 of 1673 is omitted, being included in Article 3 above.

[2] To sail with a quartering wind. Morogues urged this precaution a
century later (_Tactique Navale_, p. 209).

[3] The MS. ends abruptly in the middle of this article.




PART VII

WILLIAM III AND ANNE

I.  RUSSELL, 1691

II. ROOKE, 1703



LORD TORRINGTON, TOURVILLE AND HOSTE

INTRODUCTORY


No one document probably possesses so much importance for the history
of naval tactics as the instructions issued by Admiral Russell in
1691. Yet it is a remarkable thing that their tenour was
unknown--indeed their existence was wholly unsuspected--until a copy
of them was happily discovered in Holland by Sir William Laird
Clowes. By him it was presented to the United Service Institution, and
the thanks of the Society are due to him and the Institution that
these instructions are now at last available for publication.

They form part of a complete printed set of Fleet Instructions,
entitled 'Instructions made by the Right Honourable Edward Russell,
admiral, in the year 1691, for the better ordering of the fleet in
sailing by day and night, and in fighting.' Besides the Fighting
Instructions we have a full set of signals both for day and night
properly indexed, instructions for sailing in a fog, instructions to
be observed by younger captains to the elder, instructions for
masters, pilots, ketches, hoys, and smacks attending the fleet, and
the usual instructions for the encouragement of captains and companies
of fireships, small frigates and ketches. Now this is the precise form
in which all fleet instructions were issued, with scarcely any
alteration, up to the conclusion of the War of American
Independence,[1] and the peculiar importance of this set of articles
therefore is, that in them we have the first known example of those
stereotyped Fighting Instructions to which, as all modern writers seem
agreed, was due the alleged decadence of naval tactics in the
eighteenth century.

This being so, they clearly demand the most careful
consideration. 'The English,' says Captain Mahan in his latest
discussion of the subject, 'in the period of reaction which succeeded
the Dutch Wars produced their own caricature of systematised
tactics,[2] and this may be taken as well representing the current
judgment. But when we come to study minutely these orders of Russell,
and to study them in the light of the last of the Duke of York's and
the observations thereon in the _Admiralty Manuscript_, as well
as of the views of the great French admirals of the time, we may well
doubt whether the judgment does not require modification. We may
doubt, that is, whether Russell's orders, so far from being a
caricature of what had gone before, were not rather a sagacious
attempt to secure that increase of manoeuvring power and squadronal
control which had been found essential to any real advance in tactics.

In the first place, after noting that these instructions begin
logically with two articles for the formation of line ahead and
abreast, we are struck by this disappearance of the Duke of York's
article relating to 'dividing the enemy's fleet.' It is certainly to
this disappearance that is mainly due the belief that the new
instructions were retrograde. The somewhat hasty conclusion is
generally drawn that the manoeuvre of 'breaking the line' had been
introduced during the Dutch Wars, and forgotten immediately
afterwards. But, as we have already seen, the Duke of York's article
can hardly be construed as embodying the principle of concentration by
'breaking the line,' and 'containing.' As we know, it only applied to
an attack from the leeward which the English, and indeed every power
up to that time, did all they knew to avoid, and it cannot safely be
assumed to mean anything more than a device for gaining the wind of
part of the enemy when you cannot weather his whole fleet; while the
'containing' was intended to prevent the enemy's concentrating on the
squadron that performed the manoeuvre. Now, although Russell's
instructions lay down no rule for isolating and containing, they do
provide three new and distinct articles by which the admiral can do so
if he sees fit. Under the Duke of York's instructions, it will be
remembered, it was left to the van commander to execute the manoeuvre
of dividing the enemy's fleet as he saw his opportunity, and under
those of Lord Dartmouth it was left apparently to 'any commander.'
With all that can be said for leaving the greatest possible amount of
initiative to individual officers, such a system can hardly be called
satisfactory, and in any case so important a movement ought certainly
to be as far as possible under the control of the commander-in-chief.
But under the previous instructions he could not even initiate it by
signal. The defect had already been seen, and it will be remembered
that the additions and observations to this and the following articles
which the _Admiralty Manuscript_ contains are all directed to
remedying the omission. It is to exactly the same end that Russell's
orders seem designed, and if, as we shall see to be most probable,
they were really drawn up by Lord Torrington, we know that they were
used in this way at Beachy Head. Whether the idea of concentration and
containing was in the mind of their author we cannot tell for certain,
but at any rate the new instructions provide signals by which the
admiral can order such movements not only by any squadron, but even by
any subdivision he pleases. The freedom of individual initiative it is
true is gone, but this, as the _Admiralty MS_. indicates, was
done deliberately, not as a piece of reactionary pedantry, but as the
result of experience in battle. In all other respects the tactical
flexibility that was gained is obvious, and was fully displayed in the
first engagements in which the instructions were used.

So far as we can judge, the current view at this time was that where
fleets were equal, every known form of concentration was unadvisable
upon an unshaken enemy. The methods of the Duke of York's school were
regarded as having failed, and the result appears to have been to
convince tacticians that with the means at their disposal a strict
preservation of the line gave a sure advantage against an enemy who
attempted an attack by concentration. Tactics, in fact, in accordance
with a sound and inevitable law, having tended to become too
recklessly offensive, were exhibiting a reaction to the defensive. If
the enemy had succeeded in forming his line, it had come to be
regarded as too hazardous to attempt to divide his fleet unless you
had first forced a gap by driving ships out of the line. This idea we
see reflected in the 6th paragraph of the Duke of York's twenty-second
article (1673) and in Russell's new twenty-third article, enjoining
ships to close up any gap that may have been caused by the next ahead
or astern having been forced out of the line. Briefly stated, it may
be said that the preoccupation of naval tactics was now not so much to
break the enemy's line, as to prevent your own being broken.

But the matter did not end here. It was seen that when your own fleet
was superior, concentration was still practicable in various ways, and
particularly by doubling. Tacticians were now mainly absorbed in
working out this form of attack and the methods of meeting it, and
Russell's elaborate articles for handling squadrons and subdivisions
independently may well have had this intention.

The new phase of tactical opinion is that which we find expounded in
Pere Hoste's famous work, _L' Art des armees navales, ou
Traite des evolutions navales_, published in 1697 at the
instigation of the Comte de Tourville. The author was a Jesuit, but
claims that he is merely giving the result of his experience while
serving with the great French admirals of that time, who had learned
all they knew either as allies or enemies of the English. 'For twelve
years,' he says in his apology for touching naval subjects, 'I have
had the honour of serving with Monsieur le Marechal d'Estrees,
Monsieur le Duc de Mortemart, and Monsieur le Marechal de Tourville
in all the expeditions they made in command of naval fleets; and
Monsieur le Marechal de Tourville has been kind enough to
communicate to me his lights, bidding me write on a matter which I
think has never before been the subject of a treatise.'

The whole system of tactics that he develops is based, like Russell's,
on the single line ahead and the independent action of squadrons. The
passages in which he elaborates the central battle idea of
concentration by doubling are as follows: 'The fleet which is the more
numerous will try to extend on the enemy in such a manner as to leave
its rearmost ships astern, which will immediately turn [_se
repliera_] upon the enemy to double him, and put him between two
fires. _Remark I_.--If the more numerous fleet has the wind it
will be able more easily to turn its rear upon that of the enemy, and
put him between two fires. But if the more numerous fleet is to
leeward it ought none the less to leave its rear astern, because the
wind may shift in the fight. Besides, the fleet that is to leeward can
edge away insensibly in fighting to give its rearmost ships a chance
of doubling on the enemy by hugging the wind. _Remark II_.--I
know that many skilful people are persuaded that you ought to double
the enemy ahead; because, if the van of the enemy is once in disorder
it falls on the rest of the fleet and throws it infallibly into
confusion.' And by the aid of diagrams he proceeds to show that this
view is unsound, because the van can easily avoid the danger while the
rear cannot. To support his view he instances the entire success with
which at the battle of La Hogue, Russell, having the superior fleet,
doubled on Tourville's rear.

'To prevent being doubled,' he proceeds, 'you must absolutely prevent
the enemy from leaving ships astern of you, and to that end you may
adopt several devices when you are much inferior in number.

'I. If we have the wind we may leave some of the enemy's leading ships
alone, and cause our van to fall on their second division. In this
manner their first division will be practically useless, and if it
forces sail to tack upon us it will lose much time, and will put
itself in danger of being isolated by the calm which generally befalls
in this sort of action by reason of the great noise of the guns. We
may also leave a great gap in the centre of our fleet, provided the
necessary precautions be taken to prevent our van being cut off. By
these means, however inferior we be in numbers, we may prevent the
enemy leaving ships astern of us. _Example_.--Everyone did not
disapprove the manner in which Admiral Herbert disposed his fleet when
he engaged the French in the action of Bevesier [_i.e._ Beachy
Head] in the year 1690. He had some ships fewer than ours, and he had
determined to make his chief effort against our rear. That is why he
ordered the Dutch leading division to fall on our second division.
Then he opened his fleet in the centre, leaving a great gap opposite
our centre. After which, having closed up the English to very short
intervals, he opposed them to our rear, and held off somewhat with his
own division so as to prevent the French profiting by the gap which he
had left in his fleet to double the Dutch. This order rendered our
first division nearly useless, because it had to make a very long
board to tack on the enemy's van, and the wind having fallen, it was
put to it to be in time to share the glory of the action.[3]

'II. If the less numerous fleet is to leeward, the gap may be left
more in the centre and less in the van, but it is necessary to have a
small detachment of men-of-war and fireships so as to prevent the
enemy profiting by the gaps in the fleet to divide it.

'III. Others prefer to give as a general rule, that the flag officers
of the less numerous fleet attack the flag officers of the enemy's
fleet;[4] for by this means several of the enemy's ships remain
useless in the intervals, and the enemy cannot double you.

'IV. Others prefer that the three squadrons of the less numerous fleet
each attack a squadron of the more numerous fleet, taking care that
each squadron ranges up to the enemy in such a manner as not to leave
any of his ships astern, but rather leaving several vessels ahead.

'V. Finally, there are those who would have the less numerous fleet
put so great an interval between the ships as to equalise their line
with that of the enemy. But this last method is, without doubt, the
least good, because it permits the enemy to employ the whole of its
strength against the less numerous fleet. I agree, however, that this
method might be preferred to others in certain circumstances; as when
the enemy's ships are considerably less powerful than those of the
less numerous fleet.'

Having thus explained the system of doubling, he proceeds to give the
latest ideas of his chief on breaking the enemy's line, or, as it was
then called, passing through his fleet. 'We find,' he says, 'that in
the relations of the fights in the Channel between the English and the
Dutch that their fleets passed through one another.... In this manner
the two fleets passed through one another several times, which exposed
them to be cut off, taken, and mutually to lose several
ships. _Remark_.--This manoeuvre is as bold as it is delicate,
and consummate technical skill is necessary for it to succeed as
happily as it did with the Comte d'Estrees ... in the battle of the
Texel, in the year 1673, for he passed through the Zealand squadron,
weathered it, broke it up, and put the enemy into so great a disorder
that it settled the victory which was still in the balance.'[5]

After pointing out by diagrams various methods of parrying the
manoeuvre, he proceeds: 'I do not see, then, that we need greatly fear
the enemy's passing through us; and I do not even think that this
manoeuvre ought ever to be performed except under one of the three
following conditions: (1) If you are compelled to do it in order to
avoid a greater evil; (2) If the enemy by leaving a great gap in the
midst of his squadrons renders a part of his fleet useless; (3) If
several of his ships are disabled....

'Sometimes you are compelled to pass through the enemy's fleet to
rescue ships that the enemy has cut off, and in this case you must
risk something, but you should observe several precautions: (1) You
should close up to the utmost; (2) You should carry a press of sail
without troubling to fight in passing through the enemy; (3) The ships
that have passed ought to tack the moment they can to prevent the
enemy standing off on the same tack as the fleet that passes through
them.'

It is clear, then, that in the eyes of perhaps the finest fleet leader
of his time, and one of the finest France ever had, a man who
thoroughly understood the value of concentration, the method of
securing it by breaking the line was dangerous and unsound. In this
he thoroughly endorses the views contained in the 'Observations' of
the _Admiralty MS._ and the modifications of the standing order
which they suggest. Indeed, Hoste's remarks on breaking the line are,
in effect, little more than a logical elaboration of those ideas and
suggestions. In the 'Observations' we have the monition not to attempt
the manoeuvre 'unless an enemy press you on a lee shore.' We have the
signal for a squadron breaking the enemy's line, but only in order to
rejoin the main body, and we have the simple method of parrying the
move by tacking with an equal number of ships. The fundamental
principles of the problem in both the English and the French author
are the same, and a comparison of the two enables us to assert, with
no hesitation, that the manoeuvre of breaking the line was abandoned
by the tacticians of that era, not from ignorance nor from lack of
enterprise, but from a deliberate tactical conviction gained by
experience in war. In judging the apparent want of enterprise which
our own admirals began to display in action at this time, we should
probably be careful to refrain from joining in the unmitigated
contempt with which modern historians have so freely covered them. In
the typical battle of Malaga, for instance, Rooke did nothing but
carry out the principles which were the last word of Tourville's
brilliant career. Nor must it be forgotten that, although Rodney
executed the manoeuvre in 1782, and Hood provided a signal for its
revival which Howe at first adopted, it was never in much favour in
the British service, seeing that it was only adapted for an attack
from to leeward. The manoeuvre of breaking the line which Howe
eventually introduced was something wholly different both in form and
intention from what Rodney executed and from what was understood by
'dividing the fleet' in the seventeenth century.[6] How far the
system of doubling was approved by English admirals is doubtful. We
have seen that an 'Observation' in the _Admiralty Manuscript_
distrusts it,[7] but I have been able to find no other expression of
opinion on the point earlier than 1780, and that entirely condemns
it. It occurs in a set of fleet instructions drawn up for submission
to the admiralty by Admiral Sir Charles H. Knowles, Bart. As Knowles
was a pupil and _protege_ of Rodney's, we may assume he was
in possession of the great tactician's ideas on the point; and in
these _Fighting and Sailing Instructions_ the following, article
occurs: 'To double the enemy's line--that is, to send a few unengaged
ships on one side to engage, while the rest are fighting on the
other--is rendering those ships useless. Every ship which is between
two, has not only her two broadsides opposed to theirs, but has
likewise their shot which cross in her favour.'[8] No signal was
provided for 'doubling' in Lord Howe's or the later signal books,
though Nelson certainly executed the manoeuvre at the Nile. It
survived however in the French service, and the English books provided
a signal for preventing its execution by a numerically superior
enemy. Sir Alexander Cochrane also revived it after Trafalgar.

Knowles's objection to the manoeuvre makes it easy to understand that,
however well it suited the French tactics of long bowls or boarding,
it was not well adapted to the English method of close action with the
guns. With the French service it certainly continued in favour, and
the whole of Hoste's rules were reproduced by the famous naval expert
Sebastien-Francois Bigot, Vicomte de Morogues--in his elaborate
_Tactique navale, ou traits des evolutions et des signaux_,
which appeared in 1763, and was republished at Amsterdam in 1779. Not
only was he the highest French authority on naval science of his time,
but a fine seaman as well, as he proved when in command of the
_Magnifique_ on the disastrous day at Quiberon.[9]

The remainder of the new instructions, though less important than the
expansion of the Duke of York's third article, all tend in the same
direction. So far from insisting on a rigid observance of the single
line ahead in all circumstances, the new system seems to aim at
securing flexibility, and the power of concentration by independent
action of squadrons. This is to be specially noted in the new
article, No. 30, in which signals are provided for particular
squadrons and particular divisions forming line of battle abreast. It
is true that the old rigid form of an attack from windward is
retained, but, ineffective as the system proved, it was certainly not
inspired, as is so often said, by a mediaeval conception of naval
battle as a series of single ship actions. From what has been already
said, the well-considered tactical idea that underlay it is
obvious. The injunction to range the length of the enemy's line van to
van, and rear to rear, or _vice versa_, was aimed at avoiding
being doubled at either end of the line; while the injunction to bear
down together was obviously the quickest mode of bringing the whole
fleet into action without giving the enemy a chance of weathering any
part of it by 'gaining its wake.' That it was inadequate for this
purpose is well known. It would only work when the two fleets were
exactly parallel at the moment of bearing down--as was made apparent
at the battle of Malaga, where the French from leeward almost
succeeded in dividing Rooke's fleet as it bore down. Still the idea
was sound enough. The trouble was that it did not make sufficient
allowance for the unhandiness of ships of the line in those days, and
their difficulty in taking up or preserving exact formations.

As to the authorship of the articles, it must be remembered that the
mere fact that they were issued by Russell is not enough to attribute
them to him. He had had practically no previous experience as a flag
officer, and in all probability they followed more or less closely
those used by Lord Torrington in the previous year. Torrington was
first lord of the admiralty in 1689, and commander-in-chief of the
main fleet in 1690. It was not till after his acquittal in December of
that year that he was superseded by Russell. The instructions moreover
seem generally to be designed in close accordance with all we know of
Torrington's tactical practice, and it is scarcely doubtful that they
are due to his ripe experience and not to Russell.

That the point cannot be settled with absolute certainty is to be the
more lamented because henceforth this set of Fighting Instructions,
and not those of Rooke in 1703, must be taken as the dominating factor
of eighteenth-century tactics. Rooke's instructions, except for the
modification of a few articles, are the same as Russell's, and
consequently it has not been thought necessary to print them in
full. For a similar reason it has been found convenient to print such
slight changes as are known to have been made in the standing form
after 1703 as notes to the corresponding articles of Russell's
instructions.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] See Introductory Note to Rooke's Instructions of 1703, p. 197.

[2] _Types of Naval Officers_, p. 15.

[3] This plan of attack bears a strong resemblance to that which
Nelson intended to adopt at Trafalgar. 'Nelson,' says Captain Mahan,
'doubtless had in mind the dispositions of Tourville and De
Ruyter.'--_Life of Nelson_, ii. 351. Hoste, however, it would seem,
though a devout admirer of both Tourville and De Ruyter, gives the
credit to Lord Torrington. It was not introduced officially into the
British tactical system until Lord Howe adopted it in 1792. It was
retained in the subsequent Signal Books and Instructions.

[4] This proviso was added to the signal in the edition of 1799, and a
corresponding explanatory instruction (No. 24) was provided. See _post_,
p. 262.

[5] It should be remembered that neither the Dutch nor the English
accounts of the action at all endorse this view of D'Estrees's
behaviour. See also the _Admiralty MS._, p. 153, note 1.

[6] See _post_, pp. 245-9.

[7] _Ante_, p.152, note 1.

[8] Printed in 1798. A MS. note says 'These instructions were written
in 1780 and afterwards very much curtailed, though the general plan is
the same.'

[9] Lacour Gayet, _La marine militaire de la France sous Louis_ XV,
1902, pp. 214-5.



_ADMIRAL EDWARD RUSSELL_, 1691.

[+From a printed copy in the Library of the United Service
Institution+.]

_Fighting Instructions_.


I. When the admiral would have the fleet draw into a line of battle,
one ship ahead of another (according to the method given to each
captain), he will hoist a union flag at the mizen peak, and fire a
gun; and every flagship in the fleet is to make the same signal.[1]

II. When the admiral would have the fleet draw into a line of battle,
one ship abreast of another (according to the method given to each
captain), he will hoist a union flag and a pennant at the mizen-peak,
and fire a gun; and every flagship in the fleet is to do the same.

III. When the admiral would have the admiral of the white and his
whole squadron to tack, and endeavour to gain the wind of the enemy,
he will spread a white flag under the flag at the main top-mast-head,
and fire a gun, which is to be answered by the flagships in the fleet;
and when he would have the admiral of the blue do the same, he will
spread a blue flag on that place.

IV. When the admiral would have the vice-admiral of the red, and his
division, tack and endeavour to gain the wind of the enemy, he will
spread a red flag from the cap at the fore topmast-head downward on
the backstay. If he would have the vice-admiral of the white do the
same, a white flag; if the vice-admiral of the blue, a blue flag at
the same place.

V. When the admiral would have the rear-admiral of the red and his
division tack and endeavour to gain the wind of the enemy, he will
hoist a red flag at the flagstaff at the mizen topmast-head; if the
rear-admiral of the white, a white flag; if the rear-admiral of the
blue, a blue flag at the same place, and under the flag a pennant of
the same colour.

VI. If the admiral be to leeward of the fleet, or any part of the
fleet, and he would have them bear down into his wake or grain, he
will hoist a blue flag at the mizen peak.

VII. If the admiral be to leeward of the enemy, and his fleet, or any
part of them, to leeward of him, that he may bring those ships into a
line, he will bear up with a blue flag at the mizen peak under the
union flag, which is the signal for the line of battle; and then those
ships to leeward are to use their utmost endeavour to get into his
wake or grain, according to their stations in the line of battle.

VIII. If the fleet be sailing before the wind, and the admiral would
have the vice-admiral and the ships of the starboard quarter to clap
by the wind, and come to the starboard tack, then he will hoist upon
the mizen topmast-head a red flag. And in case he would have the
rear-admiral and the ships of the larboard quarter to come to their
larboard tack, then he will hoist up a blue flag at the same place.

IX. When the admiral would have the van of the fleet to tack first,
he will put abroad the union flag at the flagstaff on the fore
topmast-head, and fire a gun, if the red flag be not abroad; but if
the red flag be abroad, then the fore topsails shall be lowered a
little, and the union flag shall be spread from the cap of the fore
topmast downwards, and every flagship in the fleet is to do the same.

X. When the admiral would have the rear-admiral of the fleet tack
first, he will hoist the union flag on the flagstaff at the mizen
topmast-head, and fire a gun, which is to be answered by every
flagship in the fleet.

XI. When the admiral would have all the flagships in the fleet come
into his wake or grain, he will hoist a red flag at the mizen peak,
and fire a gun; and the flagships in the fleet are to make the same
signal.

XII. When the admiral would have the admiral of the white and his
squadron make more sail, though himself shorten sail, he will hoist a
white flag on the ensign staff; if the admiral of the blue, or he that
commands in the third post, a blue flag at the same place; and every
flagship in the fleet is to make the same signal.

XIII. As soon as the admiral shall hoist a red flag on the flagstaff
at the fore topmast-head, every ship in the fleet is to use their
utmost endeavour to engage the enemy, in the order the admiral has
prescribed unto them.[2]

XIV. When the admiral hoisteth a white flag at the mizen peak, then
all the small frigates of his squadron that are not in the line of
battle are to come under his stern.

XV. If the fleet is sailing by a wind in a line of battle, and the
admiral would have them brace their headsails to the mast, he will
hoist a yellow flag on the flagstaff at the mizen topmast-head, and
fire a gun; which the flagships in the fleet are to answer. Then the
ships in the rear are to brace to first.

XVI. The fleet lying in a line of battle, with their headsails to the
mast, and if the admiral would have them fill and stand on, he will
hoist a yellow flag on the flagstaff at the fore topmast-head, and
fire a gun; which the flagships in the fleet are to answer. Then the
ships in the van are to fill first, and to stand on. If it happen,
when this signal is to be made, that the red flag is abroad on the
flagstaff at the fore topmast-head, the admiral will spread the yellow
flag under the red.

XVII. If the admiral see the enemy's fleet standing towards him, and
he has the wind of them, the van of the fleet is make sail till they
come the length of the enemy's rear, and our rear abreast of the
enemy's van; then he that is in the rear of our fleet is to tack
first, and every ship one after another, as fast as they can,
throughout the line, that they may engage on the same tack with the
enemy. But in case the enemy's fleet should tack in their rear, our
fleet is to do the same with an equal number of ships; and whilst they
are in fight with the enemy, to keep within half a cable's length one
of another, or if the weather be bad, according to the direction of
the commanders.

When the admiral would have the ship that leads the van of the fleet
(or the headmost ship in the fleet) when they are in a line of battle,
hoist, lower, set or haul up any of his sails, the admiral will spread
a yellow flag under that at the main topmast-head, and fire a gun;
which the flagships that have flags at the main topmast-head are to
answer; and those flagships that have not, are to hoist the yellow
flag on the flagstaff at the main topmast-head, and fire a gun. Then
the admiral will hoist, lower, set or haul up the sail he would have
the ship that leads the van do.

XVIII. If the admiral and his fleet have the wind of the enemy, and
they have stretched themselves in a line of battle, the van of the
admiral's fleet is to steer with the van of the enemy's and there to
engage them.

XIX. Every commander is to take care that his guns are not fired till
he is sure he can reach the enemy upon a point-blank; and by no means
to suffer his guns to be fired over by any of our own ships.

XX. None of the ships in the fleet shall pursue any small number of
the enemy's ships till the main body be disabled or run.

XXI. If any of the ships in the fleet are in distress, and make the
signal, which is a weft with the jack or ensign, the next ship to them
is strictly required to relieve them.

XXII. If the admiral, or any flagship, should be in distress, and
make the usual signal, the ships in the fleet are to endeavour to get
up as close into a line, between him and the enemy, as they can;
having always an eye to defend him, if the enemy should come to annoy
him in that condition.

XXIII. In case any ship in the fleet should be forced to go out of
the line to repair damages she has received in battle the next ships
are to close up the line.

XXIV. If any flagship be disabled, the flag may go on board any ship
of his own squadron or division.

XXV. If the enemy be put to the run, and the admiral thinks it
convenient the whole fleet shall follow them, he will make all the
sail he can himself after the enemy, and fire two guns out of his
fore-chase; then every ship in the fleet is to use his best endeavour
to come up with the enemy, and lay them on board.

XXVI. If the admiral would have any particular flagship, and his
squadron, or division, give chase to the enemy, he will make the same
signal that is appointed for that flagship's tacking with his squadron
or division, and weathering the enemy.

XXVII. When the admiral would have them give over chase, he will
hoist a white flag at the fore topmast-head and fire a gun.

XXVIII. In case any ship in the line of battle should be disabled in
her masts, rigging or hull, the ship that leads ahead of her shall
take her a-tow and the division she is in shall make good the line
with her. But the commander of the ship so disabled is not on any
pretence whatever to leave his station till he has acquainted his flag
or the next flag officer with the condition of his ship, and received
his directions therein. And in case any commander shall be wanting in
his duty, his flag or the next flag officer to him is immediately to
send for the said commander from his ship and appoint another in his
room.

XXIX. If the admiral would have any flag in his division or squadron
cut or slip in the daytime, he will make the same signals that are
appointed for those flagships, and their division or squadron, to tack
and weather the enemy, as is expressed in the third, fourth, fifth,
and sixth articles before going.

XXX. When the admiral would have the red squadron draw into a line of
battle, abreast of one another, he will put abroad a flag striped red
and white on the flagstaff at the main topmast-head, with a pennant
under it, and fire a gun. If he would have the white squadron, or
those that have the second post in the fleet, to do the like, the
signal shall be a flag striped red, white, and blue, with a pennant
under it, at the aforesaid place. And if he would have the blue
squadron to do the like he will put on the said place a Genoese
ensign, together with a pennant. But when he would have either of the
said squadrons to draw into a line of battle, ahead of one another, he
will make the aforesaid signals, without a pennant; which signals are
to be answered by the flagships only of the said squadrons, and to be
kept out till I take in mine. And if the admiral would have any
vice-admiral of the fleet and his division draw into a line of battle
as aforesaid, he will make the same signals at the fore topmast-head
that he makes for that squadron at the main topmast-head. And for any
rear-admiral in the fleet and his division, the same signals at the
mizen topmast-head; which signals are to be answered by the vice- or
rear-admiral.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The instructions under which Mathews fought his action off Toulon
in 1744 add here the words 'and every ship is to observe and keep the
same distance those ships do which are next the admiral, always taking
it from the centre.' They were a MS. addition made by Mathews himself.
See 'V. A----l L----k's Rejoinder to A----l M----ws's Replies' in a
pamphlet entitled _Original Letters and Papers between Adm----l M----ws
and V. Adm----l L----k_. London, 1744, p. 31. From an undated copy of
Fighting Instructions in the Admiralty Library we know that this
addition was subsequently incorporated into the standing form.

[2] The instructions of 1744, as quoted in the Mathews-Lestock
controversy, add here the words 'and strictly to take care not to fire
before the signal be given by the admiral.' This appears also to have
been an addition made by Mathews in 1744. It was clumsily incorporated
in the subsequent standing form thus: 'to engage the enemy and on no
account to fire before the admiral shall make the signal, in the order
the admiral has prescribed unto them.' See note to Article I., _supra._



THE PERMANENT INSTRUCTIONS, 1703-1783

INTRODUCTORY


These like Russell's are extracted from a complete printed set, also
presented to the United Service Institution by Sir W. Laird Clowes,
and entitled, 'Instructions for the directing and governing her
majesty's fleet in sailing and fighting, by the Right Honourable Sir
George Rooke, Knight, Vice-Admiral of England, and admiral and
commander-in-chief of her majesty's fleet. In the year 1703.' They
also contain all the other matter as in Russell's, while another copy
has bound with it all the fleet articles of war under the hand of
Prince George of Denmark, then lord high admiral.

As they were not issued till 1703, the second year of the war, in
which Rooke did nothing but carry out a barren cruise in the Bay of
Biscay, we may assume that the Cadiz expedition of 1702 proceeded
under Russell's old instructions of the previous war. It was under
Rooke's new instructions, however, that the battle of Malaga was
fought in 1704. They were certainly in force in 1705, for a copy of
them exists in the log book of the Britannia for that year (_British
Museum, Add. MSS_. 28126, ff. 21-27). They were also used by Sir
Clowdisley Shovell during his last command; as we know by a printed
copy with certain manuscript additions of his own, relating to chasing
and armed boats, which he issued to his junior flag officer, Sir John
Norris, in the Mediterranean, on April 25, 1707 (_British Museum,
Add. MSS._ 28140). Nor is there any trace of their having been
changed during the remainder of the war. At the battle of Malaga they
were very strictly observed, and in the opinion of the time with an
entirely satisfactory result; that is to say that, although Rooke's
ships were foul and very short of ammunition, he was able to prevent
Toulouse breaking his line and so to fight a defensive action, which
saved Gibraltar from recapture, and discredited the French navy to
such an extent that thenceforth it was entirely neglected by Louis
XIV's government, and gave little more trouble to our fleets.

Though no copy of these Fighting Instructions has been found with a
later date than 1707, we know that with very slight modifications they
continued in use down to the peace of 1783. The evidence is to be
found scattered in proceedings of courts-martial, in chance references
in admirals despatches, and in signal books. For instance, in the
'Mathews and Lestock Tracts' _(British Museum_, 518, g), which
deal with the courts-martial that followed the ill-fought action off
Toulon in 1744, eight of the articles then in force are printed. All
of them have the same numbering as the corresponding articles of 1703,
six are identical in wording, and two, Numbers I. and XIII., have only
the slight modifications which Admiral Mathews made, and which have
been given above in notes to the similar articles in Russell's
set. These modifications, as we have seen, were subsequently
incorporated into the standing form, and appear in the undated copy of
the complete Fighting Instructions in the Admiralty Library. Again,
Article XIV. of 1703 is referred to in the Additional Fighting
Instructions issued by Boscawen in 1759.[1] According to a MS. note
by Sir C.H. Knowles they were re-issued in 1772 and 1778, and Keppel
in 1778 was charged under Article XXXI. of 1703. Finally, there is in
the Admiralty Library a manuscript signal book prepared by an officer,
who was present at Rodney's great action of April 12, 1782. In this
book, in which 1783 is the last date mentioned, there is inserted
beside each signal the number of the article in the printed Fighting
Instructions to which it related. In this way we are able to fix the
purport of some twenty articles, and all of these correspond exactly
both in intention and number with those of 1703.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] See below, p. 224.



_SIR GEORGE ROOKE_, 1703.

[+From a printed copy in the Library of the United Service
Institution+.]


Articles I. to XVI.--[_The same as Russell's of_ 1691, _except
for slight modifications of wording and signals_.][1]

Art. XVII.--If the admiral see the enemy's fleet standing towards him
and he has the wind of them, the van of the fleet is to make sail till
they come the length of the enemy's rear and our rear abreast of the
enemy's van; then he that is in the rear of our fleet is to tack
first, every ship one after another as fast as they can, throughout
the line. And if the admiral would have the whole fleet tack
together, the sooner to put them in a posture of engaging the enemy,
then he will hoist the union flag on the flagstaff's[2] at the fore
and mizen mast-heads and fire a gun; and all the flagships in the
fleet are to do the same. But in case the enemy's fleet should tack in
their rear, our fleet is to do the same with an equal number of ships,
and whilst they are in fight with the enemy to keep within half a
cable's length one of another, or if the weather be bad, according to
the direction of the commander.

Art. XVIII.--[_Same as the remainder of Russell's XVII_.] When
the admiral would have the ship that leads the van ... by the
flagships of the fleet.

Arts. XIX. to XXIII.--[_Same as Russell's XVIII. to XXII_.]

Art. XXIV.--[_Replacing Russell's XXIII. and XXVIII_.] No ship in
the fleet shall leave his station upon any pretence whatsoever till he
has acquainted his flag or the next flag officer to him with the
condition of his ship and received his direction herein. But in case
any ship shall do so, the next ships are to close up the line.[3]
And if any commander shall be wanting in doing his duty, his flag or
the next flag officer to him is immediately to send for the said,
commander from his ship and appoint another in his room.[4]

Arts. XXV. to XXVII., XXIX. and XXX.--[_Same as Russell's_.]

Art. XXXI.--When the admiral would have the fleet draw into a line of
battle one astern of the other with a large wind, and if he would have
those lead who are to lead with their starboard tacks aboard by a
wind, he will hoist a red and white flag at the mizen peak and fire a
gun; and if he would have those lead who are to lead with their
larboard tacks aboard by a wind, he will hoist a Genoese flag at the
same place and fire a gun; which is to be answered by the flagships of
the fleet.

Art. XXXII.--When the fleet is in the line of battle, the signals that
are made by the admiral for any squadron or particular division are to
be repeated by all the flags that are between the admiral and that
squadron or division to whom the signal is made.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The modifications consist mainly in adding a gun to several of the
flag signals, and enjoining the flagships to repeat them.

[2] The undated admiralty copy (_post_ 1744) has 'flagstaves.'

[3] This manoeuvre was finely executed by Sir Clowdisley Shovell with
the van squadron at the battle of Malaga.

[4] Burchett, the secretary of the navy, in his _Naval History_
censures Benbow for not having acted on this instruction in 1702 or
rather on No. 28 of 1691.




PART VIII

ADDITIONAL FIGHTING INSTRUCTIONS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

I.   ADMIRAL VERNON, _circa_ 1740

II.  LORD ANSON, _circa_ 1747

III. SIR EDWARD HAWKE, 1756

IV.  ADMIRAL BOSCAWEN, 1759

V.   SIR GEORGE RODNEY, 1782

VI.  LORD HOOD, 1783



ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF THE ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS

INTRODUCTORY


Although, as we have seen, the 'Fighting Instructions' of 1691
continued in force with no material alteration till the end of the
next century, it must not be assumed that no advance in tactics was
made. From time to time important changes were introduced, but instead
of a fresh set of 'Fighting Instructions' being drawn up according to
the earlier practice, the new ideas were embodied in what were called
'Additional Fighting Instructions.' They did not supersede the old
standing form, but were intended to be read with and be subsidiary to
it. It is to these 'Additional Instructions,' therefore, that we have
to look for the progress of tactics during the eighteenth century. By
one of those strange chances, however, which are the despair of
historians in almost every branch and period of their subject, these
Additional Instructions have almost entirely disappeared. Although it
is known in the usual way--that is, from chance references in
despatches and at courts-martial--that many such sets of Additional
Instructions were issued, only one complete set actually in force is
known to exist. They are those signed by Admiral Boscawen on April
27, 1759, in Gibraltar Bay, and are printed below.

After his capture of Louisbourg in the previous year, Boscawen had
been chosen for the command of the Mediterranean fleet, charged with
the important duty of preventing the Toulon squadron getting round to
Brest, and so effecting the concentration which the French had planned
as the essential feature of their desperate plan of invasion. He
sailed with the reinforcement he was taking out on April 14, and must
therefore have issued these orders so soon as he reached his
station. There is every reason to believe, however, that he was not
their author; that they were, in fact, a common form which had been
settled by Lord Anson at the admiralty. In the shape in which they
have come down to us they are a set of eighteen printed articles, to
which have been added in manuscript two comparatively unimportant
articles relating to captured chases and the call for lieutenants.
These may have been either mere 'expeditional' orders, as they were
called, issued by Boscawen in virtue of his general authority as
commander-in-chief on the station, or possibly recent official
additions. More probably they were Boscawen's own, for, strictly
speaking, they should not appear as 'Additional Fighting Instructions'
at all. From the series of signal books and other sources we know
there already existed a special set of 'Chasing Instructions,' and yet
another set in which officers' calls and the like were dealt with, and
both of Boscawen's articles were subsequently incorporated into these
sets. The printed articles to which Boscawen attached them were
certainly not new. Either wholly or in part they had been used by Byng
in 1756, for at his court-martial he referred to the 'First article of
the Additional Fighting Instructions as given to the fleet by me at
the beginning of the expedition,' and this article is identical with
No. 1 of Boscawen's set.

How much older the articles were, or, indeed, whether any were issued
before the Seven Years' War, has never yet been determined. From the
illogical order in which they succeed one another it would appear that
they were the result of a gradual development, during which one or
more orders were added from time to time by the incorporation of
'expeditional' orders of various admirals, as experience suggested
their desirability. Thus Article I. provides, in the case of the
enemy being inferior in number, for our superfluous ships to fall out
of the line and form a reserve, but it is not till Article VIII. that
we have a scientific rule laid down for the method in which the
reserve is to employ itself. Still, whatever may have been the exact
process by which these Additional Instructions grew up, evidence is in
existence which enables us to trace the system to its source with
exactitude, and there is no room for doubt that it originated in
certain expeditional orders issued by Admiral Vernon when he was in
command of the expedition against the Spanish Main in 1739-40. Amongst
the 'Mathews and Lestock' pamphlets is one sometimes attributed to
Lestock himself, but perhaps more probably inspired by him. It is
dedicated to the first lord of the admiralty, and entitled _A
Narrative of the Proceedings of his majesty's fleet in the
Mediterranean_, 1741-4, including, amongst other matter relating to
Mathews's action, 'some signals greatly wanted on the late occasion.'
At p. 108 are some 'Additional signals made use of by our fleet in the
West Indies,' meaning that of Admiral Vernon, which Lestock had
recently left. These signals relate to sailing directions by day and
by night, to 'seeing ships in the night' and to 'engaging an enemy in
the night,' and immediately following them are two 'Additional
Instructions to be added to the Fighting Instructions.' The inference
is that these two 'Additional Instructions' were something quite new
and local, since they were used by Vernon and not by Mathews. They are
given below, and will be found to correspond closely to Articles
I. and III. of the set used by Boscawen in the next war. Since,
therefore, in all the literature and proceedings relating to Mathews
and Lestock there is no reference to any 'Additional Instructions,' we
may conclude with fair safety that these two articles used by Vernon
in the West Indies were the origin and germ of the new system.

Nor is it a mere matter of inference only, for it is confirmed by a
direct statement by the author of the pamphlet. At p. 74 he has this
interesting passage which practically clears up the history of the
whole matter. 'Men in the highest stations at sea will not deny but
what our sailing and fighting instructions might be amended, and many
added to them, which by every day's experience are found to be
absolutely necessary. Though this truth is universally acknowledged
and the necessity of the royal navy very urgent, yet since the
institution of these signals nothing has been added to them excepting
the chasing signals, excellent in their kind, by the Right Honourable
Sir J---- N----.[1] Not but that every admiral has authority to make
any additions or give such signals to the captains under his command
as he shall judge proper, which are only expeditional. Upon many
emergencies our signals at this juncture [_i.e._ in the action
before Toulon] proved to be very barren. There was no such signal in
the book, expressing an order when the admiral would have the ships to
come to a closer engagement than when they begun. After what has been
observed, it is unnecessary now to repeat the great necessity and
occasion there was for it; and boats in many cases, besides their
delay and hindrance, could not always perform that duty.

'Mr. V[ernon], that provident, great admiral, who never suffered any
useful precaution to escape him, concerted some signals for so good a
purpose, wisely foreseeing their use and necessity, giving them to the
captains of the squadron under his command. And lest his vigilance
should be some time or other surprised by an enemy, or the exigencies
of his master's service should require him to attack or repulse by
night, he appointed signals for the line of battle, engaging, chasing,
leaving off chase, with many others altogether new, excellent and
serviceable, which show his judgment, abilities, and zeal. The author
takes the liberty to print them for the improvement of his brethren,
who, if they take the pains to peruse them, will receive benefit and
instruction.'

Here, then, we have indisputable evidence that the system which gave
elasticity to the old rigid Fighting Instructions began with Admiral
Vernon, who as a naval reformer is now only remembered as the inventor
of grog. The high reputation he justly held as a seaman and commander
amongst his contemporaries has long been buried under his undeserved
failure at Cartagena; but trained in the flagships of Rooke and
Shovell, and afterwards as a captain under Sir John Norris in the
Baltic, there was no one till the day of his death in 1757, at the age
of 73, who held so high a place as a naval authority, and from no one
was a pregnant tactical reform more likely to come. The Lestock
pamphlet, moreover, makes it clear that through all the time of his
service--the dead time of tactics as we regard it now--tacticians so
far from slumbering had been striving to release themselves from the
bonds in which the old instructions tied them.

This is confirmed by two manuscript authorities which have fortunately
survived, and which give us a clear insight into the new system as it
was actually set on foot. The first is a MS. copy of some Additional
Instructions in the Admiralty Library. They are less full and clearly
earlier than those used by Boscawen in 1759, and are bound up with a
printed copy of the regular Fighting Instructions already referred to,
which contain in manuscript the additions made by Mathews during his
Mediterranean command.[2] In so far as they differ from Boscawen's
they will be found below as notes to his set.

The second is a highly interesting MS. copy of a signal book dated
1756, in which the above instructions are referred to. It is in the
United Service Institution (_Register No._ 234). At the end it
contains a memorandum of a new article by which Hawke modified the
established method of attack, and for the first time introduced the
principle of each ship steering for her opposite in the enemy's
line. It is printed below, and as will be seen was to be substituted
for 'Articles V. and VI. of the Additional Fighting Instructions by
Day' then in force, which correspond to Articles XV. and XVI. of
Boscawen's set. It does not appear in the Boscawen set, and how soon
it was regularly incorporated we do not know. No reference has been
found to it till that by Rodney, in his despatch of April 1780
referred to below.

Of even higher interest for our purpose is another entry in the same
place of an article also issued by Hawke for forming 'line of
bearing.' Here again the older form of the Additional Fighting
Instructions is referred to, and the new article is to be inserted
after Article IV., which was for forming the line ahead or
abreast. The important point however is that the new article is
expressly attributed to Lord Anson. Now it is known that when Anson in
April 1747 was cruising off Finisterre for De la Jonquiere he kept
his fleet continually exercising 'in forming line and in manoeuvres of
battle till then absolutely unknown.'[3]

The 'line of bearing' or 'quarter line' must have been one of these,
and we therefore reach two important conclusions: (1) that this great
tactical advance was introduced by Anson during the War of the
Austrian Succession, and (2) that the older set of Additional Fighting
Instructions was then in existence. Another improvement probably
assignable to this time was Article IV. (of Boscawen's set) for battle
order in two separate lines. Articles V., VI., VII., for extended
cruising formations certainly were then issued, for in his despatch
after his defeat of De la Jonquiere Anson says: 'At daybreak I made
the signal for the fleet to spread in a line abreast, each ship
keeping at the distance of a mile from the other [Article V.] that
there might not remain the least probability for the enemy to pass by
us undiscovered.'[4]

Then we have the notable Article XVIII., not in the earlier sets,
enjoining captains to pursue any ship they force out of the line,
regardless of the contrary order contained in Article XXI. of the
regular Fighting Instructions. We have seen the point discussed
already in the anonymous commentary on the Duke of York's final
instructions, and it remained a bone of contention till the end. Men
like Sir Charles H. Knowles were as strongly in favour of immediately
following a beaten adversary as the anonymous commentator was in
favour of maintaining the line. Knowles's idea was that it was folly
to check the ardour of a ship's company at the moment of victory, and
he tells us he tried to persuade Howe to discard the old instruction
when he was drawing up his new ones.[5]

As to the further tactical progress which the Boscawen instructions
disclose, and which nearly all appear closely related to the events of
the War of the Austrian Succession, when Anson was supreme, we may
particularly note Article I., for equalising the lines and using
superfluous ships to form a reserve; Article III. for closer action;
Article VIII. for the reserve to endeavour to 'Cross the T,' instead
of doubling; and Articles IX. and X. for bringing a flying enemy to
action.

With these internal inferences to corroborate the direct evidence of
our documents the conclusion is clear--that during the War of the
Austrian Succession the new system initiated by Vernon was developed
by Anson as a consequence of Mathews's miserable action off Toulon in
1744, and that its first fruits were gathered in the brilliant
successes of Hawke and Anson himself in 1747.

Though no complete set later than those used by Boscawen is known to
exist, we may be certain from various indications that they continued
to be issued as affording a means of giving elasticity to tactics, and
that they were constantly issued in changing form. Thus Rodney, in his
report after the action off Martinique in April 1780, says, 'I made
the signal for every ship to bear down and steer for her opposite in
the enemy's line, agreeable to the twenty-first article of the
Additional Instructions.' Again in a MS. signal book in the Admiralty
Library, which was used in Rodney's great action of April 12, 1782,
and drawn up by an officer who was present, a similar article is
referred to. But there it appears as No. XVII. of the Additional
Instructions, and its effect is given in a form which closely
resembles the original article of Hawke:--'When in a line of battle
ahead and to windward of the enemy, to alter the course to lead down
to them; whereupon every ship is to steer for the ship of the enemy,
which from the disposition of the two squadrons it may be her lot to
engage, notwithstanding the signal for the line ahead will be kept
flying.' It is clear, therefore, that between 1780 and 1782 Rodney or
the admiralty had issued a new set of 'Additional Instructions.' The
amended article was obviously designed to prevent a recurrence of the
mistake that spoiled the action of 1780. In the same volume is a
signal which carries the idea further. It has been entered
subsequently to the rest, having been issued by Lord Hood for the
detached squadron he commanded in March 1783. There is no reference
to a corresponding instruction, but it is 'for ships to steer for
(independent of each other) and engage respectively the ships opposed
to them.' In Lord Howe's second signal book, issued in 1790,[6] the
signal reappears in MS. as 'each ship of the fleet to steer for,
independently of each other, and engage respectively the ship opposed
in situation to them in the enemy's line.' And in this case there is
a reference to an 'Additional Instruction, No. 8,' indicating that
Hood, who had meanwhile become first sea lord, had incorporated his
idea into the regular 'Additional Fighting Instructions.'

Take, again, the case of the manoeuvre of 'breaking the line' in line
ahead. This was first practised after its long abandonment by a sudden
inspiration in Rodney's action of April 12, 1782. In the MS. signal
book as used by Rodney in that year there is no corresponding signal
or instruction. But it does contain one by Hood which he must have
added soon after the battle. It is as follows:--

'When fetching up with the enemy to leeward and on the contrary tack
to break through their line and endeavour to cut off part of their van
or rear.' It also contains another attributed to Admiral Pigot which
he probably added at Hood's suggestion when he succeeded to the
command in July 1782. It is for a particular ship 'to cut through the
enemy's line of battle, and for all the other ships to follow her in
close order to support each other.' But in both cases there is no
corresponding instruction, so that the new signals must have been
based on 'expeditional' orders issued by Pigot and Hood. The same
book has yet another additional signal 'for the leading ship to cut
through the enemy's line of battle,' apparently the latest of the
three, but not specifically attributed either to Pigot or Hood.

With the Additional Instructions used by Rodney the system culminated.
For officers with any real feeling for tactics its work was adequate.
The criticisms of Hood and Rodney on Graves's heart-breaking action
off the Chesapeake in 1781 show this clearly enough. 'When the enemy's
van was out,' wrote Hood, 'it was greatly extended beyond the centre
and rear, and might have been attacked with the whole force of the
British fleet.' And again, 'Had the centre gone to the support of the
van and the signal for the line been hauled down ... the van of the
enemy must have been cut to pieces and the rear division of the
British fleet would have been opposed to ... the centre division.'
Here, besides the vital principle of concentration, we have a germ
even of the idea of containing, and Rodney is equally emphatic. 'His
mode of fighting I will never follow. He tells me that his line did
not extend so far as the enemy's rear. I should have been sorry if it
had, and a general battle ensued. It would have given the advantage
they wished and brought their whole twenty-four ships of the line
against the English nineteen, whereas by watching his opportunity
... by contracting his own line he might have brought his nineteen
against the enemy's fourteen or fifteen, and by a close action have
disabled them before they could have received succour from the
remainder.'[7]

Read with such remarks as these the latest Additional Fighting
Instructions will reveal to us how ripe and sound a system of tactics
had been reached. The idea of crushing part of the enemy by
concentration had replaced the primitive intention of crowding him
into a confusion; a swift and vigorous attack had replaced the
watchful defensive, and above all the true method of concentration had
been established; for although a concentration on the van was still
permissible in exceptional circumstances, the chief of the new
articles are devoted to concentrating on the rear. Thus our tacticians
had worked out the fundamental principles on which Nelson's system
rested, even to breaking up the line into two divisions. 'Containing'
alone was not yet clearly enunciated, but by Hood's signals for
breaking the line, the best method of effecting it was made
possible. Everything indeed lay ready for the hands of Howe and Nelson
to strike into life.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Admiral Sir John Norris had been commander-in-chief in the
Mediterranean 1710-1, in the Baltic 1715-21 and 1727, in the Downs in
1734, and the Channel 1739 and following years. Professor Laughton tells
me that Norris's papers and orders for 1720-1 contain no such signals.
He must therefore have issued them later.

[2] Catalogue, 252/24. The reason this interesting set has been
overlooked is that the volume in which they are bound bears by error the
label 'Sailing and Fighting Instructions for H.M. Fleet, 1670. Record
Office Copy.' The Instructions of 1670 were of course quite different.

[3] _Dict. Nat. Biog._ vol. ii. p. 33.

[4] Barrow, _Life of Anson_, p. 162

[5] _Observations on Naval Tactics, &c._, p. 27.

[6] In the Admiralty Library. It is undated, but assigned to 1792-3.
For the reasons for identifying it as Howe's second code see _post_, pp.
234-7. In his first code Howe adopted Hood's wording almost exactly; see
_post_, p. 236.

[7] _Letters of Sir Samuel Hood_, p. 46; and cf. _post_, p. 228 _n._



_ADMIRAL VERNON, circa_ 1740.

[+Mathews-Lestock Pamphlets+.[1]]

_An Additional Instruction to be added to the Fighting
Instructions_.


In case of meeting any squadron of the enemy's ships, whose number may
be less than those of the squadron of his majesty's ships under my
command, and that I would have any of the smaller ships quit the line,
I will in such case make the signal for speaking with the captain of
that ship I would have quit the line; and at the same time I will put
a flag, striped yellow and white, at the flagstaff at the main
topmast-head, upon which the said ship or ships are to quit the line
and the next ships are to close the line, for having our ships of
greatest force to form a line just equal to the enemy's. And as, upon
the squadrons engaging, it is not to be expected that the ships
withdrawn out of the line can see or distinguish signals at such a
juncture, it is therefore strictly enjoined and required of such
captain or captains, who shall have their signal or signals made to
withdraw out of the line, to demean themselves as a _corps de
reserve_ to the main squadron, and to place themselves in the
best situation for giving relief to any ship of the squadron that may
be disabled or hardest pressed by the enemy, having in the first place
regard to the ship I shall have my flag on board, as where the honour
of his majesty's flag is principally concerned. And as it is morally
impossible to fix any general rule to occurrences that must be
regulated from the weather and the enemy's disposition, this is left
to the respective captain's judgment that shall be ordered out of the
line to govern himself by as becomes an officer of prudence, and as he
will answer the contrary at his peril.

_Memorandum_.--That whereas all signals for the respective
captains of the squadron are at some one of the mast-heads, and as
when we are in line of battle or in other situations it may be
difficult for the ships to distinguish their signal, in such case you
are to take notice that your signal will be made by fixing the pennant
higher upon the topgallant shrouds, so as it may be most conspicuous
to be seen by the respective ship it is made for.

_A second Additional Instruction to the Fighting Instructions_.

If, at any time after our ships being engaged with any squadron of the
enemy's ships, the admiral shall judge it proper to come to a closer
engagement with the enemy than at the distance we first began to
engage, the admiral will hoist a union flag at the main topmast-head
and fire a gun on the opposite side to which he is engaged with the
enemy, when every ship is to obey the signal, taking the distance from
the centre; and if the admiral would have any particular ship do so he
will make the same signal with the signal for the captain of that
ship.

And in case of being to leeward of the enemy, the admiral will at the
same time he makes this signal hoist the yellow flag at the fore
topmast-head for filling and making sail to windward.

And during the time of engagement, every ship is to appoint a proper
person to keep an eye upon the admiral and to observe signals.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] 'A Narrative of the Proceedings of his Majesty's Fleet in the
Mediterranean, &c. By a Sea Officer' London, 1744, pp. 111-2



_LORD ANSON, circa_ 1747_.

[+MS. Signal Book, 1756, United Service Institution+.]

_Lord Anson's Additional Fighting Instruction, to be inserted after
Article the 4th in the Additional Fighting Instructions by Day_.


Whereas it may often be necessary for ships in line of battle, to
regulate themselves by bearing on some particular point of the compass
from each other without having any regard to their bearing abreast or
ahead of one another;

You are therefore hereby required and directed to strictly observe the
following instructions:

When the signal is made for the squadron to draw into a line of battle
at any particular distance, and I would have them keep north and south
of each other, I will hoist a red flag with a white cross in the mizen
topmast shrouds to show the quarter of the compass, and for the
intermediate points I will hoist on the flagstaff at the mizen
top-mast-head, when they are to bear

  N by E and S by W, one common pennant
  NNE     " SSW, two common pennants
  NE by N " SW by S, three " "
  NE      " SW, a Dutch jack.

And I will hoist under the Dutch jack when I would have them bear

  NE by E and SW by W, one common pennant
  ENE      "  WSW, two common pennants
  E by N   "  W by S, three " "
and fire a gun with each signal.

When I would have them bear from each other on any of the points on
the NW and SE quarters I will hoist a blue and white flag on the mizen
topmast shrouds, to show the quarter of the compass and distinguish
the intermediate points they are to form on from the N and S in the
same manner as in the NE and SW quarter.[1]

                                         ED. HAWKE.
FOOTNOTE:

[1] From this article it would appear that the correct expression for
'line of bearing' is 'quarter line'--_i.e._ a line formed in a quarter
of the compass, and that 'bow and quarter line' is due to false
etymology. Though Hawke approved the formation, it does not appear in
the Additional Instructions used by Boscawen in 1759. It was however
regularly incorporated in those used in the War of American
Independence. See _post_, p. 225, Art. III.




_SIR EDWARD HAWKE_, 1756.

[+MS. Signal Book, United Service Institution+.]

_Memorandum_,


In room of Articles V. and VI. of the 'Additional Fighting
Instructions by Day'[1] it is in my discretion that this be
observed, viz.:

When sailing in a line of battle, one ship ahead of another, and I
would have the ship that leads with either the starboard or larboard
tacks aboard to alter her course in order to lead down to the enemy, I
will hoist a Dutch jack under my flag at the mizen topmast-head and
fire two guns. Then every ship of the squadron is to steer for the
ship of the enemy that from the disposition of the two squadrons must
be her lot to engage, notwithstanding I shall keep the signal for the
line ahead flying, making or shortening sail in such proportion as to
preserve the distance assigned by the signal for the line, in order
that the whole squadron as soon as possible may come to action at the
same time.[2]

                                  ED. HAWKE.

_Additional Signals_.

If upon seeing an enemy I should think it necessary to alter the
disposition of the ships in the line of battle, and would have any
ships change station with each other, I will make the signal to speak
with the captains of such ships, and hoist the flag chequered red and
blue on the flagstaff at the mizen topmast-head.[3]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _I.e._ the older set. They were Articles XV. and XVI. of the
remodelled set used by Boscawen in 1759.

[2] This article was presumably issued by Hawke when in July 1756 he
superseded Byng in the Mediterranean. It seems designed to prevent a
recurrence of the errors which lost the battle of Minorca, where the
British van was crushed by coming into action long before the centre and
rear. It is not in the Additional Instructions of 1759, but reappears in
a modified form in those of 1780.

[3] This article is entered in the same signal book, but has no
signature. It may therefore have been one of Anson's innovations.



_ADMIRAL BOSCAWEN_, 1759.[1]

[+From the original in the Admiralty Library, 252/29+.]


I. In case of meeting with a squadron of the enemy's ships that may be
less in number than the squadron under my command, if I would have any
of the smaller ships quit the line, that those of the greatest force
may be opposed to the enemy, I will put abroad the signal for speaking
with the captains of such ships as I would have leave the line, and
hoist a flag, striped yellow and white, at the flagstaff at the main
topmast-head; then the next ships are to close the line, and those
that have quitted it are to hold themselves in readiness to assist any
ship that may be disabled, or hard pressed, or to take her station, if
she is obliged to go out of the line: in which case, the strongest
ship that is withdrawn from the line is strictly enjoined to supply
her place, and fill up the vacancy.

II. And in case of meeting with any squadron, or ships of war of the
enemy that have merchant-men under their convoy, though the signal for
the line of battle should be out, if I would have any of the frigates
that are out of the line, or any ship of the line fall upon the
convoy, whilst the others are engaged, I will put abroad the pennant
for speaking with the captain of such ship or ships, and hoist the
flag above mentioned for quitting the line, with a pennant under it;
upon which signal, such ship or ships are to use their utmost
endeavours to take or destroy the enemy.

III. If at any time while we are engaged with the enemy, the admiral
shall judge it proper to come to a closer engagement than at the
distance we then are, he will hoist a red and white flag on the
flagstaff at the main topmast-head, and fire a gun. Then every ship
is to engage the enemy at the same distance the admiral does; and if
the admiral would have any particular ship do so, he will make the
same signal, and the signal for speaking with the captain.

IV.[2] When I would have the two divisions of the fleet form
themselves into a separate line of battle, one ship ahead of another
at the distance of a cable's length asunder, and each division to be
abreast of the other, when formed at the distance of one cable's
length and a half, I will hoist a flag chequered blue and yellow at
the mizen peak, and fire a gun, and then every ship is to get into her
station accordingly,

*V.[3] When I would have the fleet spread in a line abreast, each
ship keeping at the distance of one mile from the other, I will hoist
a flag chequered blue and yellow, on the flagstaff at the mizen
top-mast-head, and fire a gun.

*VI. When I would have the ships spread in a line directly ahead of
each other, and keep at the distance of a mile asunder, I will hoist a
flag chequered red and white at the mizen peak, and fire a gun.

*VII. And when the signal is made for the ships to spread either
abreast or ahead of one another, and I would have them keep at the
distance of two miles asunder, I will hoist a pennant under the
fore-mentioned flags: then every ship is to make sail, and get into
her station accordingly.

VIII. If I should meet with a squadron of the enemy's ships of war
inferior in number to the ships under my command, those ships of my
squadron (above the number of the enemy) that happen to fall in either
ahead of the enemy's van or astern of his rear, while the rest of the
ships are engaged, are hereby required, and directed to quit the line
without waiting for the signal, and to distress the enemy by raking
the ships in the van and rear, notwithstanding the first part of the
twenty-fourth article of the Fighting Instructions to the contrary.

IX. And if I should chase with the whole squadron, and would have a
certain number of the ships that are nearest the enemy draw into a
line of battle ahead of me, in order to engage till the rest of the
ships of the squadron can come up with them, I will hoist a white flag
with a red cross on the flagstaff at the main topmast-head, and fire
the number of guns as follows:--

When I would have five ships draw into a line of battle, ahead of each
other, I will fire one gun.

When I would have seven ships draw into a line of battle, ahead of
each other, I will fire three guns.

X. Then those ships are immediately to form the line without any
regard to seniority or the general form delivered, but according to
their distances from the enemy, viz., The headmost and nearest ship to
the enemy is to lead, and the sternmost to bring up the rear, that no
time may be lost in the pursuit; and all the rest of the ships are to
form and strengthen that line, as soon as they can come up with them,
without any regard to my general form of the order of battle.

XI. Whereas every ship is directed (when sailing in a line of battle)
to keep the same distances those ships do who are nearest the admiral,
always taking it from the centre: if at any time I think the ship
ahead of me is [at] too great a distance, I will make it known to him
by putting abroad a pennant at the jib-boom end, and keep it flying
till he is in his proper station: and if he finds the ship ahead of
him is at a greater distance from him than he is from the
[4]-----(or such ship as my flag shall be flying on board of), he
shall make the same signal at his jib-boom end, and keep it flying
till he thinks that ship is at a proper distance, and so on to the van
of the line.

XII. And when I think the ship astern of me is at too great a
distance, I will make it known to him by putting abroad a pennant at
the cross-jack yard-arm, and keep it flying till he is in his station:
and if he finds the ship astern of him is at a greater distance than
he is from the ---- (or such ship as my flag shall be flying aboard
of) he shall make the same signal at the cross-jack yard-arm, and keep
it flying till he thinks that the ship is at a proper distance, and so
on to the rear of the line.

XIII. And if at any time the captain of any particular ship in the
line thinks the ship without him is at a greater distance than those
ships who are next the centre, he shall make the above signal: and
then that ship is immediately to close, and get into his proper
station.

XIV.[5] When the signal is made for the squadron to draw into a line
of battle, one ship ahead of another, by hoisting a union flag at the
mizen peak and firing a gun, every ship is to make all the sail he can
into his station, and keep at the distance of half a cable's length
from each other: If I would have them to be a cable's length asunder,
I will hoist a blue flag, with a red cross under the union flag at the
mizen peak and fire a gun: and if two cables' length asunder, a white
and blue flag under the union flag at the mizen peak, and fire a gun:
but when I would have the squadron draw into a line of battle, one
ship abreast of another, and keep at those distances as above
directed, I will hoist a pennant under the said flags at the mizen
peak.

XV.[6] When sailing in a line of battle, one ship ahead of another,
and I would have the ship who leads to alter her course and lead more
to starboard, I will hoist a flag striped white and blue at the fore
topmast-head, and fire a gun for every point of the compass I would
have the course altered.

XVI.[6] And if I would have the ship that leads to alter her course
and lead more to port, I will hoist a flag striped blue and white on
the flagstaff at the mizen topmast-head, and fire a gun for every
point of the compass I would have the course altered, and every ship
in the squadron is to get into her wake as fast as possible.

XVII.[7] When I would have all the fireships to prime, I will hoist
a chequered blue and yellow pennant at the mizen topmast-head.

*XVIII.[8] Notwithstanding the general printed Fighting
Instructions, if at any time, when engaged with an equal number of the
enemy's ships, and the ship opposed to any of his majesty's ships is
forced out of the line, you are hereby required and directed to pursue
her, and endeavour to take and destroy her.

_Memorandum_.--When the squadron is in a line of battle ahead,
and the signal is made for the headmost and weathermost to tack, the
ship that leads on the former tack is to continue to lead after
tacking.[9]

*XIX.[10] When I would have the ship or ships that chase bring down
their chase to me, I will hoist a blue flag pierced with white on the
fore topgallant mast, not on the flagstaff.

*XX.[10] When I find it necessary to have the state and condition of
the ships in the squadron sent on board me, I will make the signal for
all lieutenants, and hoist a blue and white flag at the mizen peak and
fire a gun. If for the state and condition of a particular ship, I
make the signal for the lieutenant of that ship, with the flag at the
mizen peak.

Given under my hand on board his majesty's ship Namur, in Gibraltar
Bay, this 27 April, 1759.
                                     E. BOSCAWEN
                                     (autograph).
To Capt. Medows,
  of his majesty's ship Shannon.
    By command of the admiral
      ALEX. MACPHERSON
      (autograph).

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The articles marked with an asterisk are additions subsequent to
and not appearing in the earlier _Admiralty MS._ 252/24, 'Additional
Fighting Instructions by Day' (see p. 108).

[2] In the earlier _Admiralty MS._ this article is numbered VII. and
begins 'If the fleet should happen to be in two divisions and I would
have them form,' &c.

[3] Used by Lord Anson in 1747. See _supra_, p. 209.

[4] The earlier _Admiralty MS._ has simply 'the ship my flag shall be
aboard of.'

[5] Article IV, in the earlier _Admiralty MS_. It is practically
identical except that it has 'she' and 'her' throughout where ships are
spoken of, and a few other verbal differences.

[6] Articles V. and VI. in the earlier _Admiralty MS_.

[7] The equivalent of Article XIV. in the earlier _Admiralty MS_.
which reads thus, 'When I would have the fireships to prime I will hoist
a pennant striped red and white on the flagstaff at the fore
topmast-head and fire a gun, but in case we are at any time in chase of
the enemy's fleet, the fireships are to prime as fast as possible
whether the signal be made or not.' The _Admiralty MS_. ends here with
another article relating to fireships (No. XV.): 'You are to hold his
majesty's ship under your command in a constant readiness for action,
and in case of coming to an engagement with the enemy, if they have the
wind of us, to keep your barge manned and armed with hand and fire-chain
grapnels on the offside from them, to be ready to assist as well any
ship that may be attempted by the fireships of the enemy, as our own
fireships when they shall be ordered upon service.' This article
disappears from subsequent sets, and was perhaps incorporated into the
'General Instructions to Captains' to which it more properly belongs.
The MS. also contains 'Night Signals' and private signals for knowing
detached ships rejoining at night.

[8] Whoever was the author of this article, it was generally regarded
as too risky and subsequently disappeared. The article of the 'printed
Fighting Instructions' referred to is No. XXI.

[9] This memorandum, which concludes the printed portion, must have
been added in view of the misconception which occurred in Knowles's
action of 1748.

[10] MS. additions by Boscawen.



_SIR GEORGE RODNEY_, 1782.[1]

[+MS. Signal Book in the Admiralty Library+.]


1. Line ahead at one cable.
2. Line abreast at one cable.
3. Quarter lines on various compass bearings.
4. When in line ahead to alter course to starboard or port
together--one gun for every point.[2]
5. The same when in line abreast.[2]
6. To form order of sailing.[3]
7. When in line of battle for the whole fleet to tack together.
8. When in line of battle for the next ship ahead or on the starboard
beam, which is at too great a distance, to close.
9. The same for the next astern or on the larboard beam.
10. (_Undetermined_.)
11. The fleet to form in two separate lines ahead at one cable's
distance, each division abreast of the other at two cables'
distance.[4]
12. (?) Particular ships to come under the admiral's stern without
hail.[5]
13. Ships to change stations in the line of battle.
14. When in chase for the headmost ship to engage the sternmost of
the enemy, and the next ship to pass, under cover of her fire, and
take the ship next ahead, and so on in succession, without respect to
seniority or the prescribed order of battle. To engage to windward or
leeward as directed by signal.[6]
15. The whole fleet being in chase, for some of the headmost ships to
draw into line of battle and engage the enemy's rear, at the same time
endeavouring to get up with their van. _Note_.--These ships to
form without any regard to seniority or the order of battle. The ship
nearest the enemy is to lead and the sternmost to bring up the
rear. _Signal_.--Red flag with white cross at main topmast-head
with one gun for five ships, and three for seven.[7]
16. When turning to windward in line of battle for the leading ship
to make known when she can weather the enemy. To be repeated from ship
to ship to the commander-in-chief. If he should stand on till the
sternmost ship can weather them, she is to make it known by hoisting a
common pennant at the fore topgallant mast-head; to be repeated as
before. The sternmost ship is likewise to do so whenever the squadron
shall be to windward of the enemy, and her commander shall judge
himself far enough astern of their rear to lead down out of their line
of fire.
17. When in line of battle ahead and to windward of the enemy, to
alter course to lead down to them: whereupon every ship is to steer
for the ship of the enemy which from the disposition of the two
squadrons it may be her lot to engage, notwithstanding the signal for
the line ahead will be kept flying.[8]
18. When to windward of the enemy or in any other position that will
admit, for the headmost ship to lead down out of their line of fire
and attack their rear, the second from the leader to pass under her
fire, and take the second ship of the enemy, and so on in
succession. To engage to starboard or larboard according to signal.
19. To come to a closer engagement.[9]
20. For particular ships to quit the line.
21. For particular ships to attack the enemy's convoy.[10]
22. For all fireships to prime.[11]
23. On discovering a superior force.
24. For three-decked and heavy ships to draw out of their places in
the line of battle, and form in the van or rear of the fleet.
25. To attack the enemy's centre.[12]
26. To attack the enemy's rear.[12]
27. To attack the enemy's van.[12]
28. To make sail ahead on a bearing from the admiral.[13]
29. In cruising to form line ahead or abreast at one or two miles'
distance.[14]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The actual Additional Fighting Instructions used by Rodney for his
famous campaign of 1782 are lost; what follows are merely the drift of
those instructions so far as they can be determined from the references
to them in his signal book. It should be noted that by this time those
used in the Seven Years' War had been entirely recast in a more logical
form.

[2] _Cf._ Boscawen's Nos. 15 and 16.

[3] According to Sir Chas. H. Knowles the regular sailing formation at
this time for a large fleet was in three squadrons abreast, each formed
in bow and quarter line to starboard and port of its flag. He says it
was his father's treatise on Tactics which induced Howe to revert to
Hoste's method, and adopt the formation of squadrons abreast in line
ahead. This, he adds, Howe used for the first time when sailing to
relieve Gibraltar in 1782. Thenceforth it became the rule of the
service, and the subsequent signal books contain signals for forming
line of battle from two, three, and six columns of sailing respectively.
This Knowles regards as the great reform on which modern tactics were
founded. See his _Observations on Tactics_, 1830.

[4] _Cf._ Boscawen's No. 4.

[5] This may be an Additional Sailing Instruction, the various sets of
Additional Instructions not being distinguished in the signal book.

[6] This article may well have been the outcome of Hawke's defeat of
L'Etenduere in 1747, when he chased and engaged practically as the
instruction directs, and with complete success.

[7] _Cf._ Boscawen's Nos. 9 and 10.

[8] This appears to correspond to Article XXI. of the Additional
Fighting Instructions in use in 1780, to which Rodney referred in his
report on the action of April 17 in that year.

[9] _Cf._ Boscawen's No. 3.

[10] _Cf._ Boscawen's No. 2.

[11] _Cf._ Boscawen's No. 17.

[12] In connection with these three articles the following dictum
attributed to Rodney should be recalled: 'During all the commands Lord
Rodney has been entrusted with he made it a rule to bring his whole
force against a part of the enemy's, and never was so absurd as to bring
ship to ship when the enemy gave him an opportunity of acting
otherwise.' And _cf. supra_, p. 213.

[13] This may be an Additional Sailing Instruction.

[14] _Cf._ Boscawen's Nos. 5, 6 and 7. A number of other Additional
Instructions are referred to, but they seem to relate to Sailing,
Chasing or General Instructions. No more Fighting Instructions can be
identified.



_LORD HOODS ADDITIONS_, 1783.[1]

[+MS. Signal Book in the Admiralty Library+.]


1. For the ships to steer for (independent of each other) and engage
respectively the ships opposed to them.

2. When in line of battle, for the leading ship to carry as much sail
as her commander judges the worst sailing ship can preserve her
station with all her plain sail set.

3. To prepare to reef topsails together.

4. When in line of battle or otherwise for the men to go to dinner.

5. After an action for the ships to signify whether they are in a
condition to renew it.[2]

6. For ships in chase or looking out to alter course to port or
starboard.

7. To stay by or repair to the protection of prizes or ships under
convoy.

8. When fetching up with the enemy and to leeward, or on a contrary
tack, to break through their line, and to endeavour to cut off part of
their van or rear.

9. For the leading ship to cut through the enemy's line of battle.

10. To signify that the admiral will carry neither top nor stern
lights. _Note_.--The fleet immediately to close.

11. For particular ships to reconnoitre the enemy in view, and to
return to make known their number and force.

12. For a particular ship to keep between the fleet and that of the
enemy during the night, to communicate intelligence.[3]

13. To signify to a ship that she mistakes the signal that was made to
her.

14. To prepare to hoist French or Spanish colours.

15. For a particular ship to open her fire on the ship opposed to her.

16. When a ship is in distress in battle.

17. Signal to call attention of larboard or starboard line of the
division only.[4]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] See pp. 211-2. These additional signals are all added in paler
ink, with those made by Admiral Pigot. In the original they occur on
various pages without numbers. In the text above they have merely been
numbered consecutively for convenience of reference. Hood was made a
viscount September 12, 1782, and began to issue these orders on March
11, 1783, when he had a squadron placed under his command.

[2] Ascribed also to Pigot.

[3] Also ascribed to Pigot.

[4] The MS. has also an additional signal ascribed to Pigot for a
particular ship to cut through the enemy's line of battle, and for the
other ships to follow her in close order to support each other.




PART IX

THE LAST PHASE

I.   LORD HOWE'S FIRST SIGNAL BOOK

II.  SIGNAL BOOKS OF THE GREAT WAR

III. NELSON'S TACTICAL MEMORANDA

IV.  ADMIRAL GAMBIER, 1807

V.   LORD COLLINGWOOD, 1808-1810

VI.  SIR ALEXANDER COCHRANE'S INSTRUCTIONS

VII. THE SIGNAL BOOK OF 1816



THE NEW SIGNAL BOOK INSTRUCTIONS

INTRODUCTORY


The time-worn Fighting Instructions of Russell and Rooke with their
accretion of Additional Instructions did not survive the American War.
Some time in that fruitful decade of naval reform which elapsed
between the peace of 1783 and the outbreak of the Great War they were
superseded. It was the indefatigable hand of Lord Howe that dealt
them the long-needed blow, and when the change came it was
sweeping. It was no mere substitution of a new set of Instructions,
but a complete revolution of method. The basis of the new tactical
code was no longer the Fighting Instructions, but the Signal
Book. Signals were no longer included in the Instructions, and the
Instructions sank to the secondary place of being 'explanatory' to the
Signal Book.[1]

The earliest form in which these new 'Explanatory Instructions' are
known is a printed volume in the Admiralty Library containing a
complete set of Fleet Instructions, and entitled 'Instructions for the
conduct of ships of war explanatory of and relative to the Signals
contained in the Signal Book herewith delivered.' The Signal Book is
with it.[2] Neither volume bears any date, but both are in the old
folio form which had been traditional since the seventeenth
century. They are therefore presumably earlier than 1790 when the
well-known quarto form first came into use, and as we shall see from
internal evidence they cannot have been earlier than 1782. Nor is
there any direct evidence that they are the work of Lord Howe, but the
'significations' of the signals bear unmistakable marks of his
involved and cumbrous style, and the code itself closely resembles
that he used during the Great War. With these indications to guide us
there is little difficulty in fixing with practical certainty both
date and authorship from external sources.[3]

In a pamphlet published by Admiral Sir Charles Henry Knowles in 1830,
when he was a very old man, he claims to have invented the new code of
numerical signals which Howe adopted. The pamphlet is entitled
'Observations on Naval Tactics and on the Claims of Clerk of Eldin,'
and in the course of it he says that about 1777 he devised this new
system of signals, and gave it to Howe on his arrival in the summer of
that year at Newport, in Rhode Island, 'and his lordship,' he says,
'afterwards introduced them into the Channel Fleet.' Further, he
says, he soon after invented the tabular system of flags suggested by
the chess-board, and published them in the summer of 1778. To this
work he prefixed as a preface the observations of his father, Sir
Charles Knowles, condemning the existing form of sailing order, and
recommending Pere Hoste's old form in three columns, and this
order, he says, Howe adopted for the relief of Gibraltar in September
1782. He also infers that the alleged adoption of his signals in the
Channel Fleet was when Lord Howe commanded it before he became first
lord of the admiralty for the second time--that is, before he
succeeded Keppel in December 1783. For during the peace Knowles tells
us he made a second communication to Howe on tactics, of which more
must be said later on. The inference therefore is that when Knowles
says that Howe adopted his code in the Channel Fleet it must have been
the first time he took command of it--that is, on April 2, 1782.[4]

Now if, as Knowles relates--and there is no reason to doubt this part
of his story--Howe did issue a new code of signals some time before
sailing for Gibraltar in 1782, and if at the time, as Knowles also
says, he had been studying Hoste, internal evidence shows almost
conclusively that these folios must be the Signal Book in
question. From end to end the influence of Hoste's Treatise and of
Rodney's tactics in 1782 is unmistakable.[5]

From Hoste it takes not only the sailing formation in three columns,
but re-introduces into the British service the long-discarded
manoeuvre of 'doubling.' For this there are three signals, Nos.
222-4, for doubling the van, doubling the rear, and for the rear to
double the rear. From Hoste also it borrows the method of giving
battle to a superior force, which the French writer apparently
borrowed from Torrington. The signification of the signal is as
follows: 'No. 232. When inferior in number to the enemy, and to
prevent being doubled upon in the van or rear, for the van squadron to
engage the headmost ships of the enemy's line, the rear their
sternmost, and the centre that of the enemy, whose surplus ships will
then be left out of action in the vacant spaces between our
squadrons.'

The author's obligations to the recent campaigns of Rodney and Hood
are equally clear. Signal 236 is, 'For ships to steer for independent
of each other and engage respectively the ships opposed to them in the
enemy's line,' and this was a new form of the signal, which, according
to the MS. Signal Book of 1782, was introduced by Hood.[6] Still
more significant is Signal 235, 'when fetching up with the enemy to
leeward, and on the contrary tack, to break through their line and
endeavour to cut off part of their van or rear.' This is clearly the
outcome of Rodney's famous manoeuvre, and is adopted word for word
from the signification of the signal that Hood added. Pigot, it will
be remembered, on succeeding Rodney, added two more on the same
subject, viz. (1) 'For the leading ship to cut through the enemy's
line of battle,' and (2) 'For a particular ship specified to cut
through the enemy's line of battle, and for all the other ships to
follow her in close order to support each other.' Neither of these
later signals is in the code we are considering, and the presumption
is that it was drawn up very soon after Rodney's victory and before
Pigot's signals were known at home.

Finally there is a MS. note added by Sir Charles H. Knowles to his
'Fighting and Sailing Instructions,' to the effect that in the
instructions issued by Howe in 1782 he modified Article XXI. of the
old Fighting Instructions (_i.e._ Article XX. of Russell's).
'His lordship in 1782,' it says, 'directed by his instructions that
the line [_i.e._ his own line] should not be broken until all the
enemy's ships gave way and were beaten.' And this is practically the
effect of Article XIV. of the set we are considering. In the absence
of contrary evidence, therefore, there seems good ground for calling
these folio volumes 'Howe's First Signal Book, 1782,' and with this
tentative attribution the Explanatory Instructions are printed below.

As has been already said, these instructions, divorced as they now
were from the signals, give but a very inadequate idea of the tactics
in vogue. For this we must go to the tactical signals themselves. In
the present case the more important ones (besides those given above)
are as follows:

'No. 218. To attack the enemy's rear in succession by ranging up with
and opening upon the sternmost of their ships; then to tack or veer,
as being to windward or to leeward of the enemy, and form again in the
rear.' This signal, which at first sight looks like a curious
reversion to the primitive Elizabethan method of attack, immediately
follows the signals for engaging at anchor, and may have been the
outcome of Hood's experience with De Grasse in 1782.

'No. 232. In working to gain the wind of the enemy, for the headmost
and sternmost ships to signify when they can weather them by Signal
17, p. 66; or if to windward of the enemy and on the contrary tack,
for the sternmost ship to signify when she is far enough astern of
their rear to be able to lead down out of their line of fire.'

'No. 234. When coming up astern and to windward of the enemy to engage
by inverting the line'--that is, for the ship leading the van to
engage the sternmost of the enemy, the next ship to pass on under
cover of her fire and engage the second from the enemy's rear, and so
on.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The first attempt to provide a convenient Signal Book separate
from the Instructions was made privately by one Jonathan Greenwood about
1715. He produced a small 12mo. volume dedicated to Admiral Edward
Russell, Earl of Orford, and the other lords of the admiralty who were
then serving with him. It consists of a whole series of well-engraved
plates of ships flying the various signals contained in the Sailing and
Fighting Instructions, each properly coloured with its signification
added beneath. The author says he designed the work as a pocket
companion to the Printed Instructions and for the use of inferior
officers who had not access to them. Copies are in the British Museum
and the R.U.S.I. Library.

[2] _Catalogue_, Nos. 252/27 and 252/26.

[3] A still earlier Signal Book attributed to Lord Howe is in the
United Service Institution, but it is no more than a condensed and
amended form of the established one. Its nature and intention are
explained by No. 10 of the 'explanatory observations' which he attached
to it. It is as follows; 'All the signals contained in the general
printed Signal Book which are likely to be needful on the present
occasion being provided for in this Signal Book, the signals as
appointed in the general Signal Book will only be made either in
conformity to the practice of some senior officer present, or when in
company for the time being with other ships not of the fleet under the
admiral's command, and unprovided with these particular signals.' It was
therefore probably issued experimentally, but what the 'present
occasion' was is not indicated. It contains none of the additional
signals of 1782-3.

[4] Knowles was of course too old in 1830 for his memory to be trusted
as to details. A note in his handwriting upon a copy of his code in
possession of the present baronet gives its story simply as follows:
'These signals were written in 1778, as an idea--altered and
published--then altered again in 1780--afterwards arranged differently
in 1787, and finally in 1794; but not printed at Sir C.H. Knowles's
expense until 1798, when they were sent to the admiralty, but they were
not published, although copies have been given to sea officers.'

[5] A partial translation of Hoste had been published by Lieutenant
Christopher O'Bryen, R.N., in 1762. Captain Boswall's complete
translation was not issued till 1834.

[6] Note that the signal differs from that which Rodney made under
Article 17 of the Additional Fighting Instructions in his action of
April 17, 1780, and which being misunderstood spoilt his whole attack.



_LORD HOWE_, 1782.

[+Admiralty Library 252/27+.]

_Instructions respecting the Order of Battle and conduct of the
fleet, preparative to and in action with the enemy_.


Article I. When the signal is made for the fleet to form in order of
battle, each captain or commander is to get most speedily into his
station, and keep the prescribed distance from his seconds ahead and
astern upon the course steered, and under a proportion of sail suited
to that carried by the admiral.

But when the signal is made for tacking, or on any similar occasion,
care is to be taken to open, in succession, to a sufficient distance
for performing the intended evolution. And the ships are to close back
to their former distance respectively as soon as it has been executed.

II. In line of battle, the flag of the admiral commanding in chief is
always to be considered as the point of direction to the whole fleet,
for forming and preserving the line.

III. The squadron of the second in command is to lead when forming the
line ahead, and to take the starboard side of the centre when forming
the line abreast, unless signal is made to the contrary; these
positions however are only restrained to the first forming of the
lines from the order of sailing.

For when the fleet is formed upon a line, then in all subsequent
evolutions the squadrons are not to change their places, but preserve
the same situation in the line whatever position it may bring them
into with the centre, with respect to being in the van or the rear, on
the starboard or larboard side, unless directed so to do by signal.

Suppose the fleet sailing in line ahead on the larboard tack, the
second in command leading, and signal is made to form a line abreast
to sail large or before the wind, the second squadron in that case is
to form on the larboard side of the centre.

Again, suppose in this last situation signal is made to haul to the
wind, and form a line ahead on the starboard tack, in this case the
squadron of the third in command is to lead, that of the second in
command forming the rear.

And when from a line ahead, the squadron of the second in command
leading, the admiral would immediately form the line on the contrary
tack by tacking or veering together, the squadron of the third in
command will then become the van.

These evolutions could not otherwise be performed with regularity and
expedition.

When forming the line from the order of sailing, the ships of each
squadron are to be ranged with respect to each other in the line in
the same manner as when in order of sailing each squadron in one line;
and, as when the second in command is in the van, the headmost ship of
his squadron (in sailing order) becomes the leading ship of the line,
so likewise the headmost ship of the third squadron (in sailing order)
becomes the leading ship of the line, when the third in command takes
the van, except when the signal is made to form the line reversed.

Ships happening to have been previously detached on any service,
separate from the body of the fleet, when the signal for forming in
order of battle is made, are not meant to be comprehended in the
intention of it, until they shall first have been called back to the
fleet by the proper signal.

IV. When the fleet is sailing in line of battle ahead, the course is
to be taken from the ship leading the van upon that occasion; the
others in succession being to steer with their seconds ahead
respectively, whilst they continue to be regulated by the example of
the leading ship.[1]

V. The ships, which from the inequality of their rates of sailing
cannot readily keep their stations in the line, are not to obstruct
the compliance with the intent of the signal in others; nor to hazard
throwing the fleet into disorder by persisting too long in their
endeavours to preserve their stations under such circumstances; but
they are to fall astern and form in succession in the rear of the
line.

The captains of such ships will not be thereby left in a situation
less at liberty to distinguish themselves; as they will have an
opportunity to render essential service, by placing their ships to
advantage when arrived up with the enemy already engaged with the
other part of the fleet.

The ships next in succession in order of battle are to occupy in turn,
on this and every other similar occasion, the vacant spaces that would
be otherwise left in the line; so that it may be always kept perfect
at the appointed intervals of distance.

And when the fleet is sailing large, or before the wind, in order of
battle, and the admiral makes the signal for coming to the wind on
either tack, the ship stationed to lead the line on that tack, first,
and the others in succession, as they arrive in the wake of that ship
and of their seconds ahead respectively, are to haul to the wind
without loss of time accordingly.

And all the signals for regulating the course and motions of the fleet
by day or night, after the signal for forming in order of battle has
been made, are to be understood with reference to the continuance of
the fleet in such order, until the general signal to chase, or to form
again in order of sailing, is put abroad.

VI. When the fleet is formed on any line pointed out by the compass
signal, the relative bearing of the ships from each other is to be
preserved through every change of course made, as often as any
alteration thereof together shall be by signal directed.[2]

When, on the contrary, the signal to alter the course in succession
has been put abroad, the relative bearing of the ships from each other
will be then consequently changed; and any alteration of the course
subsequently directed to be made by the ships together will thereafter
have reference to the relative bearing last established. The same
distinction will take place so often as the alteration of course in
succession, as aforesaid, shall in future recur.

VII. If the admiral should observe that the enemy has altered his
course, and the disposition of his order of battle, one, two, three,
or any greater number of points (in which case it will be necessary to
make a suitable change in the bearing of the ships from each other in
the British fleet, supposed to be formed in such respects
correspondently to the first position of the enemy), he will make the
signal for altering course in succession, according to the nature of
the occasion. The leading ship of the line is thereupon immediately to
alter to the course pointed out; and (the others taking their places
astern of her in succession, as they arrive in the wake of that ship
and of their seconds ahead respectively) she is to lead the fleet in
line of battle ahead on the course so denoted, until farther order.

VIII. When it is necessary to shorten or make more sail whilst the
fleet is in order of battle, and the proper signal in either case has
been made, the fleet is to be regulated by the example of the frigate
appointed to repeat signals; which frigate is to set or take in the
sail the admiral is observed to do.

The ship referred to is thereupon to suit her sail to the known
comparative rate of sailing between her and the admiral's ship.

Hence it will be necessary that the captains of the fleet be very
attentive to acquire a perfect knowledge of the comparative rate of
sailing between their own and the admiral's ship, so as under whatever
sail the admiral may be, they may know what proportion to carry, to go
at an equal rate with him.

IX. When, the ships of the fleet being more in number than the enemy,
the admiral sees proper to order any particular ships to withdraw from
the line, they are to be placed in a proper situation, in readiness to
be employed occasionally as circumstances may thereafter require--to
windward of the fleet, if then having the weather-gage of the enemy,
or towards the van and ahead, if the contrary--to relieve, or go to
the assistance of any disabled ship, or otherwise act, as by signal
directed.

The captains of ships, stationed next astern of those so withdrawn,
are directly to close to the van, and fill up the vacant spaces
thereby made in the line.

When, in presence of an enemy, the admiral or commander of any
division of the fleet finds it necessary to change his station in the
line, in order to oppose himself against the admiral or commander in a
similar part of the enemy's line, he will make the signal for that
purpose; and the ships referred to on this occasion are to place
themselves forthwith against the ships of the enemy, that would
otherwise by such alteration remain unopposed.

X. When the fleet is sailing in a line of battle ahead, or upon any
other bearing, and the signal is made for the ships to keep in more
open order, it will be generally meant that they should keep from one
to two cables' length asunder, according as the milder or rougher
state of the weather may require; also that they should close to the
distance of half a cable, or at least a cable's length, in similar
circumstances, when the signal for that purpose is put abroad.

But in both cases, the distance pointed out to the admiral's second
ahead and astern, by the continuance of the flag abroad, as intimated
in the Signal Book, is to be signified from them respectively to the
ships succeeding them on either part, by signals.

These signals are to be continued either way, onward, throughout the
line if necessary.

Notice is to be taken, in the same manner, of any continued deviation
from the limited distance; and to commence between the several
commanders of private ships respectively, independent of the admiral's
previous example, when they observe their seconds ahead or astern to
be at any time separated from them, further than the regulated
distance kept by the ships next to the admiral, or that which was last
appointed.

When the admiral, being before withdrawn from the line, means to
resume his station therein, he will make the signal for the particular
ships, between which he means to place himself, to open to a greater
distance, whether it be in his former station, or in any other part of
the line, better suited for his future purpose.

XI. When any number of ships is occasionally detached from the fleet
for the same purpose, they are, during their separation from the body
of the fleet, to comply with all such signals as shall be made at any
time, whilst the signal flag appropriated for that occasion remains
abroad.

But the signals made to all ships so appointed, having the commander
of a squadron or division with them, will be under the flag
descriptive of such commander's squadron or division, whose signals
and instructions they are to obey.

XII. Great care is to be taken at all times when coming to action not
to fire upon the enemy either over or near any ships of the fleet,
liable to be injured thereby; nor, when in order of battle, until the
proper signal is made, and that the ships are properly placed in
respect to situation and distance, although the signal may have been
before put abroad.

And if, when the signal for battle is made, the ships are then
steering down for the enemy in an oblique direction from each other,
they are to haul to the wind, or to any order parallel with the enemy,
to engage them as they arrive in a proper situation and distance,
without waiting for any more particular signal or order for that
purpose: regard being only had by the several commanders in these
circumstances to the motions of the ships preceding them on the tack
whereunto the course more inclines, and upon and towards which the
enemy is formed for action, that they may have convenient space for
hauling up clear of each other.

When our fleet is upon the contrary tack to that of the enemy, and
standing towards them, and the admiral makes the signal to engage, the
van ship is then to lead close along their line, with a moderate sail,
and engage; the rest of the fleet doing the same, passing to windward
or to leeward of the enemy, as the admiral may direct.

XIII. When weathering the enemy upon the contrary tack, and signal is
made to engage their van, the leading ship is then to bear down to the
van ship of the enemy, and engage, passing along their line to
windward to the sternmost ship of their van squadron, then to haul off
close to the wind, the rest of the fleet doing the same in
succession.[3]

XIV. No ship is to separate in time of action from the body of the
fleet, in pursuit of any small number of the enemy's ships beaten out
of the line; nor until their main body be also disabled or broken: but
the captains, who have disabled or forced their opponents out of the
line, are to use their best endeavours to assist any ship of the fleet
appearing to be much pressed, or the ships nearest to them, to hasten
the defeat of the enemy, unless otherwise by signal, or particular
instruction, directed.[4]

XV. When any ship in the fleet is so much disabled as to be in the
utmost danger and hazard of being taken by the enemy, or destroyed,
and makes the signal expressive of such extremity; the Captains of the
nearest ships, most at liberty with respect to the state of their
opponents in the enemy's line, are strictly enjoined to give all
possible aid and protection to such disabled ship, as they are best
able. And the captain of any frigate (or fireship) happening to be at
that time in a situation convenient for the purpose, is equally
required to use his utmost endeavours for the relief of such disabled
ship, by joining in the attack of the ship of the enemy opposed to the
disabled ship, if he sees opportunity to place his ship to advantage,
by favouring the attempt of the fireship to lay the enemy on board, or
by taking out any of the crew of the disabled ship, if practicable and
necessary, as may be most expedient.

XVI. No captain, though much pressed by the enemy, is to quit his
station in time of battle, if possible to be avoided, without
permission first obtained from the commanding officer of his division,
or other nearest flag officer, for that purpose; but, when compelled
thereto by extreme necessity before any adequate assistance is
furnished, or that he is ordered out of the line on that account, the
nearest ships and those on each part of the disabled ship's station
are timely to occupy the vacant space occasioned by her absence,
before the enemy can take advantage thereof.

And if any captain shall be wanting in the due performance of his duty
in time of battle, the commander of the division, or other flag
officer nearest to him, is immediately to remove such deficient
captain from his post, and appoint another commander to take the
charge and conduct of the ship on that occasion.

XVII. When, from the advantage obtained by the enemy over the fleet,
or from bad weather, or otherwise, the admiral hath by signal
signified his intention to leave the captains and other commanders at
liberty to proceed at their discretion; they are then permitted to act
as they see best under such circumstances, for the good of the king's
service and the preservation of their ships, without regard to his
example. But they are, nevertheless, to endeavour at all times to gain
the appointed rendezvous in preference, if it can be done with safety.

XVIII. The ships are to be kept at all times prepared in readiness for
action. And in case of coming to an engagement with the enemy, their
boats are to be kept manned and armed, and prepared with hand and
fire-chain grapnels, and other requisites, on the off-side from the
enemy, for the purpose of assisting any ship of the fleet attempted by
the fireships of the enemy; or for supporting the fireships of the
fleet when they are to proceed on service.

The ships appointed to protect and cover these last, or which may be
otherwise in a situation to countenance their operations, are to take
on board their crews occasionally, and proceed before them down, as
near as possible, to the ships of the enemy they are destined to
attempt.

The captains of such ships are likewise to be particularly attentive
to employ the boats they are provided with, as well to cover the
retreat of the fireships boat, as to prevent the endeavours to be
expected from the boats of the enemy to intercept the fireship, or in
any other manner to frustrate the execution of the proposed
undertaking.[5]

XIX. If the ship of any flag officer be disabled in battle, the flag
officer may embark on board any private ship that he sees fit, for
carrying on the service: but it is to be of his own squadron or
division in preference when equally suitable for his purpose.

XX. The flag officers, or commanders of divisions, are on all
occasions to repeat generally, as well as with reference to their
respective divisions, the signals from the admiral, that they may be
thereby more speedily communicated correspondent to his intentions.

And the purpose of all signals for the conduct of particular divisions
is then only meant to be carried into execution when the signal has
been repeated, or made by the commanders of such particular divisions
respectively. In which circumstances they are to be always regarded
and complied with by the ships or divisions referred to, in the same
manner as if such signals had been made by the admiral commanding in
chief.

XXI. When ships have been detached to attack the enemy's rear, the
headmost ship of such detachment, and the rest in succession, after
having ranged up their line as far is judged proper, is then to fall
astern; and (the ship that next follows passing between her and the
enemy) is to tack or wear as engaged to windward or leeward, and form
in the rear of the detachment.

XXII. When the fleet is to tack in succession, the ship immediately
following the one going in stays should observe to bear up a little,
to give her room; and the moment for putting in stays is that when a
ship discovers the weather quarter of her second ahead, and which has
just tacked before her.

On this and every other occasion, when the fleet is in order of
battle, it should be the attention of each ship strictly to regulate
her motions by those of the one preceding her; a due regard to such a
conduct being the only means of maintaining the prescribed distance
between the ships, and of preserving a regular order throughout the
line.

XXIII. As soon as the signal is made to prepare for battle, the
fireships are to get their boarding grapnels fixed; and when in
presence of an enemy, and that they perceive the fleet is likely to
come to action, they are to prime although the signal for that purpose
should not have been made; being likewise to signify when they are
ready to proceed on service, by putting abroad the appointed signal.

They are to place themselves abreast of the ships of the line, and not
in the openings between them, the better to be sheltered from the
enemy's fire, keeping a watchful eye upon the admiral, so as to be
prepared to put themselves in motion the moment their signal is made,
which they are to answer as soon as observed.

A fireship ordered to proceed on service is to keep a little ahead and
to windward of the ship that is to escort her, to be the more ready to
bear down on the vessel she is to board, and to board if possible in
the fore shrouds. By proceeding in this manner she will not be in the
way of preventing the ship appointed to escort her from firing upon
the enemy, and will run less risk of being disabled herself; and the
ship so appointed and the two other nearest ships are to assist her
with their boats manned and armed.

She is to keep her yards braced up, that when she goes down to board,
and has approached the ship she is to attempt, she may have nothing to
do but to spring her luff.

Captains of fireships are not to quit them till they have grappled the
enemy, and have set fire to the train.

XXIV. Frigates have it in particular charge to frustrate the attempts
of the enemy's fireships, and to favour those of our own. When a
fireship of the enemy therefore attempts to board a ship of the line,
they are to endeavour to cut off the boats that attend her, and even
to board her, if necessary.

XXV. The boats of a ship attempted by an enemy's fireship, with those
of her seconds ahead and astern, are to use their utmost efforts to
tow her off, the ships at the same time firing to sink her.

XXVI. In action, all the ships in the fleet are to wear red ensigns.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] This and Article II. appear to be the first mention of working the
fleet by 'guides.'

[2] The original has here the following erasure: 'The same is to be
understood of the bearing indicated, though the admiral should shape his
course from the wind originally when the signal for forming upon a line
of bearing is made.'

[3] It was Nelson's improvement on this unscientific method of attack
that is the conspicuous feature of his Memorandum, 1803, but it must be
remembered that Howe had not yet devised the manoeuvre of breaking the
line in all parts on which Nelson's improvement was founded.

[4] _Cf._ note 1, p. 224.

[5] Howe's insistence on these points both here and in Articles
XXII.-XXV. is curious in view of the fact that the use of fireships in
action had gone out of fashion. From 1714 to 1763 only one English
fireship is known to have been 'expended,' and that was by Commander
Callis when he destroyed the Spanish galleys at St. Tropez in 1742. At
the peace of 1783 the Navy List contained only 17 fireships out of a
total of 468 sail. Howe had two fireships on the First of June, 1794,
but did not use them.



THE SIGNAL BOOKS OF THE GREAT WAR

INTRODUCTORY


The second form in which the new Fighting Instructions, originated by
Lord Howe, have come down to us, is that which became fixed in the
service after 1790; that is, instead of two folio volumes with the
Signals in one and the Explanatory Instructions in the other, we have,
at least after 1799, one small quarto containing both, and entitled
'Signal Book for Ships of War.' The earliest known example, however,
of the new quarto form is a Signal Book only, which refers to a set of
Instructions apparently similar to those of 1799. These have not been
found, but presumably they were in a separate volume. The Signal Book
is in the Admiralty Library labelled in manuscript '1792-3(?),' but,
as before, no date or signature appears in the body of it. From
internal evidence, however, as well as from collateral testimony,
there is little difficulty in identifying it as Lord Howe's second
code issued in 1790.

The feature of the book that first strikes us is that, though the bulk
of it is printed, all the most important battle signals, as well as
many others, have been added in MS., while at the end are the words,
'Given on board the Queen Charlotte, to Capt. ----, commander of his
majesty's ship the ----, by command of the admiral.' It is thus
obvious that the original printed form, which contains many further
unfilled blanks for additional signals, was used as a draft for a
later edition. No such edition is known to exist in print, but both
the original signals and the additions correspond exactly with the
MS. code which was used by Lord Howe in his campaign of 1794. In
editing this code for the Society in his _Logs of the Great Sea
Fights_, Admiral Sturges Jackson hazarded the conjecture that it
had not then been printed, but was supplied to each ship in the fleet
in MS. The admiralty volume goes far to support his conjecture, and it
is quite possible that we have here the final draft from which the
MS. copies were made.

As to the actual date at which the code was completed there is not
much difficulty. The Queen Charlotte was Howe's flagship in the
Channel fleet from 1792-4, but it was also his flagship in 1790 at the
time of the 'Spanish Armament,' when he put to sea in immediate
expectation of war with Spain. While the tension lasted he is known
to have used the critical period in exercising his fleet in tactical
evolutions, in order to perfect it in a new code of signals which he
had been elaborating for several years.[1] It is probable therefore
that this Signal Book belongs to that year, and that it is one of
several copies which Howe had printed with the battle signals blank
for his own use while he was elaborating his system by practical
experiment. This conjecture is brought to practical certainty by a
rough and much-worn copy of it in the United Service Institution. It
was made by Lieut. John Walsh, of H.M.S. Marlborough, one of Howe's
fleet, and inside the cover he has written 'Earl Howe's signals by
which the Grand Fleet was governed 1790, 1791, and 1794.'

It was upon the tactical system contained in this book that all the
great actions of the Nelson period were fought. The alterations which
took place during the war were slight. The codes used by Howe himself
in 1794, and by Duncan at Camperdown in 1797, follow it exactly. A
slightly modified form was issued by Jervis to the Mediterranean
fleet, and was used by him at St. Vincent in 1797. No copy of this is
known to exist, but from the logs of the ships there engaged it would
appear that, though the numbering of the code had been changed, the
principal battle signals remained the same. In 1799 a new edition was
printed in the small quarto form. In this the Signal Book and the
Instructions were bound together, and were issued to the whole navy,
but here again, though the numbers were changed, the alterations were
of no great importance.[2] Reprints appeared in 1806 and 1808, but
the code itself continued in use till 1816. In that year an entirely
new Signal Book based on Sir Home Popham's code was issued with a
fresh set of Explanatory Instructions, or, as they had come to be
called, 'Instructions relating to the line of battle and the conduct
of the fleet preparatory to their engaging and when engaged with an
enemy.'[3] Both these sets of 'Explanatory Instructions' are printed
below, but, as we have seen, they throw but little light by themselves
on the progress of tactical thought during the great period they
covered. They were no longer 'Fighting Instructions' in the old sense,
unless read with the principal battle signals, and to these we have to
go to get at the ideas that underlay the tactics of Nelson and his
contemporaries.

Now the most remarkable feature of Howe's Second Signal Book, 1790, is
the apparent disappearance from it of the signal for breaking the line
which in his first code, 1782, he had borrowed from Hood in
consequence of Rodney's manoeuvre. The other two signals introduced
by Hood and Pigot for breaking the line on Rodney's plan are equally
absent. In their stead appears a signal for an entirely new manoeuvre,
never before practised or even suggested, so far as is known, by
anyone. The 'signification' runs as follows: 'If, when having the
weather-gage of the enemy, the admiral means to pass between the ships
of their line for engaging them to leeward or, being to leeward, to
pass between them for obtaining the weather-gage. N.B.--The different
captains and commanders not being able to effect the specified
intention in either case are at liberty to act as circumstances
require.' In the Signal Book of 1799 the wording is changed. It there
runs 'To break through the enemy's line in all parts where
practicable, and engage on the other side,' and in the admiralty copy
delivered to Rear-Admiral Frederick there is added this MS. note, 'If
a blue pennant is hoisted at the fore topmast-head, to break through
the van; if at the main topmast-head, to break through the centre; if
at the mizen topmast-head, to break through the rear.'[4]

This form of the signification shows that the intention of the signal
was something different from what is usually understood in naval
literature by 'breaking the line.' By that we generally understand the
manoeuvre practised by Lord Rodney in 1782, a manoeuvre which was
founded on the conception of 'leading through' the enemy's line in
line ahead, and all the ships indicated passing through in succession
at the same point. Whereas in Lord Howe's signal the tactical idea is
wholly different. In his manoeuvre the conception is of an attack by
bearing down all together in line abreast or line of bearing, and each
ship passing through the enemy's line at any interval it found
practicable; and this was actually the method of attack which he
adopted on June 1, 1794. In intention the two signals are as wide as
the poles asunder. In Rodney's case the idea was to sever the enemy's
line and cut off part of it from the rest. In Howe's case the idea of
severing the line is subordinate to the intention of securing an
advantage by engaging on the opposite side from which the attack is
made. The whole of the attacking fleet might in principle pass through
the intervals in the enemy's line without cutting off any part of
it. In principle, moreover, the new attack was a parallel attack in
line abreast or in line of bearing, whereas the old attack was a
perpendicular or oblique attack in line ahead.

Nothing perhaps in naval literature is more remarkable than the fact
that this fundamental difference is never insisted on, or even, it may
be said, so much as recognised. Whenever we read of a movement for
breaking the line in this period it is almost always accompanied with
remarks which assume that Rodney's manoeuvre is intended and not
Howe's. Probably it is Nelson who is to blame. At Trafalgar, after
carefully elaborating an attack based on Howe's method of line
abreast, he delivered it in line ahead, as though he had intended to
use Rodney's method. His reasons were sound enough, as will be seen
later. But as a piece of scientific tactics it was as though an
engineer besieging a fortress, instead of drawing his lines of
approach diagonally, were to make them at right angles to the
ditch. When the greatest of the admirals apparently (but only
apparently) confused the two antagonistic conceptions of breaking the
line, there is much excuse for civilian writers being confused in
fact.

The real interest of the matter, however, is to inquire, firstly, by
what process of thought Howe in his second code discarded Rodney's
manoeuvre as the primary meaning of his signal after having adopted it
in his first, and, secondly, how and to what end did he arrive at his
own method.

On the first point there can be little doubt. Sir Charles H. Knowles
gives us to understand that Howe still had Hoste's Treatise at his
elbow, and with Hoste for his mentor we may be sure that, in common
with other tactical students of his time, he soon convinced himself
that Rodney's manoeuvre was usually dangerous and always
imperfect. Knowles himself in his old age, though a devout admirer of
Rodney, denounced it in language of characteristic violence, and
maintained to the last that Rodney never intended it, as every one now
agrees was the truth. Nelson presumably also approved Howe's cardinal
improvement, or even in his most impulsive mood he would hardly have
called him 'the first and greatest sea officer the world has ever
produced.'[5]

As to the second point--the fundamental intention of the new
manoeuvre--we get again a valuable hint from Knowles. Upon his second
visit to the admiralty, after Howe had succeeded Keppel at the end of
1783, Knowles brought with him by request a tactical treatise written
by his father, as well as certain of his own tactical studies, and
discussed with Howe a certain manoeuvre which he believed the French
employed for avoiding decisive actions. He showed that when engaged to
leeward they fell off by alternate ships as soon as they were hard
pressed, and kept reforming their line to leeward, so that the British
had continually to bear up, and expose themselves to be raked aloft in
order to close again. In this way, as he pointed out, the French were
always able to clip the British wings without receiving any decisive
injury themselves. In a MS. note to his 'Fighting and Sailing
Instructions,' he puts the matter quite clearly. 'In the battle off
Granada,' he says, 'in the year 1779 the French ships partially
executed this manoeuvre, and Sir Charles [H.] Knowles (then 5th
lieutenant of the Prince of Wales of 74 guns, the flagship of the
Hon. Admiral Barrington) drew this manoeuvre, and which he showed
Admiral Lord Howe, when first lord of the admiralty, during the
peace. His lordship established a signal to break through the enemy's
line and engage on the other side to leeward, and which he executed
himself in the battle of the 1st of June, 1794.' The note adds that
before Knowles drew Howe's attention to the supposed French manoeuvre
he had been content with his original Article XIV., modifying Article
XXI. of the old Fighting Instructions as already explained. Whether
therefore Knowles's account is precisely accurate or not, we may take
it as certain that it was to baffle the French practice of avoiding
close action by falling away to leeward that Howe hit on his brilliant
conception of breaking through their line in all parts.

No finer manoeuvre was ever designed. In the first place it developed
the utmost fire-face by bringing both broadsides into play. Secondly,
by breaking up the enemy's line into fragments it deprived their
admiral of any shadow of control over the part attacked. Thirdly, by
seizing the leeward position (the essential postulate of the French
method of fighting) it prevented individual captains making good their
escape independently to leeward and ensured a decisive _melee_,
such as Nelson aimed at. And, fourthly, it permitted a concentration
on any part of the enemy's line, since it actually severed it at any
desired point quite as effectually as did Rodney's method. Whether
Howe ever appreciated the importance of concentration to the extent it
was felt by Nelson, Hood and Rodney is doubtful. Yet his invention
did provide the best possible form of concentrated attack. It had over
Rodney's imperfect manoeuvre this inestimable advantage, that by the
very act of breaking the line you threw upon the severed portion an
overwhelming attack of the most violent kind, and with the utmost
development of fire-surface. Finally it could not be parried as
Rodney's usually could in Hoste's orthodox way by the enemy's standing
away together upon the same tack. By superior gunnery Howe's attack
might be _stopped_, but by no possibility could it be _avoided_
except by flight. It was no wonder then that Howe's invention was
received with enthusiasm by such men as Nelson.

Still it is clear that in certain cases, and especially in making an
attack from the leeward, as Clerk of Eldin had pointed out, and where
it was desirable to preserve your own line intact, Rodney's manoeuvre
might still be the best. Howe's manoeuvre moreover supplied its chief
imperfection, for it provided a method of dealing drastically with the
portion of the enemy's line that had been cut off. Thus, although it
is not traceable in the Signal Book, it was really reintroduced in
Howe's third code. This is clear from the last article of the
Explanatory Instructions of 1799 which distinguishes between the two
manoeuvres; but whether or not this article was in the Instructions of
1790 we cannot tell. The probability is that it was not, for in the
Signal Book of 1790 there is no reference to a modifying instruction.
Further, we know that in the code proposed by Sir Charles H. Knowles
the only signal for breaking the line was word for word the same as
Howe's. This code he drew up in its final form in 1794, but it was not
printed till 1798. The presumption is therefore that until the code of
1799 was issued Howe's method of breaking the line was the only one
recognised. In that code the primary intention of Signal 27 'for
breaking through the enemy's line in all parts' is still for Howe's
manoeuvre, but the instruction provides that it could be modified by a
red pennant over, and in that case it meant 'that the fleet is to
preserve the line of battle as it passes through the enemy's line, and
to preserve it in very close order, that such of the enemy's ships as
are cut off may not find an opportunity of passing through it to
rejoin their fleet.' This was precisely Rodney's manoeuvre with the
proviso for close order introduced by Pigot. The instruction also
provided for the combining of a numeral to indicate at which number in
the enemy's line the attempt was to be made. No doubt the distinction
between manoeuvres so essentially different might have been more
logically made by entirely different signals.[6] But in practice it
was all that was wanted. It is only posterity that suffers, for in
studying the actions of that time it is generally impossible to tell
from the signal logs or the tactical memoranda which movement the
admiral had in mind. Not only do we never find it specified whether
the signal was made simply or with the pennant over, but admirals seem
to have used the expressions 'breaking' and 'cutting' the line, and
'breaking through,' 'cutting through,' 'passing through,' and 'leading
through,' as well as others, quite indiscriminately of both forms of
the manoeuvre. Thus in Nelson's first, or Toulon, memorandum he speaks
of 'passing through the line' from to-windward, meaning presumably
Howe's manoeuvre, and of 'cutting through' their fleet from to-leeward
when presumably he means Rodney's. In the Trafalgar memorandum he
speaks of 'leading through' and 'cutting' the line from to-leeward,
and of 'cutting through' from to-windward, when he certainly meant to
perform Howe's manoeuvre. Whereas Howe, in his Instruction XXXI. of
1799, uses 'breaking the line' and 'passing through it' indifferently
of both forms.

All we can do is generally to assume that when the attack was to be
made from to-windward Howe's manoeuvre was intended, and Rodney's when
it was made from to-leeward. Yet this is far from being safe
ground. For the signification of the plain signal without the red
pennant over--_i.e._ 'to break through ... and engage on the other
side'--seems to contemplate Howe's manoeuvre being made both from
to-leeward and from to-windward.

The only notable disappearances in Howe's second code (1790) are the
signals for 'doubling,' probably as a corollary of the new
manoeuvre. For, until this device was hit upon, Rodney's method of
breaking the line apparently could only be made effective as a means
of concentration by doubling on the part cut off in accordance with
Hoste's method. This at least is what Clerk of Eldin seems to imply
in some of his diagrams, in so far as he suggests any method of
dealing with the part cut off. Yet in spite of this disappearance
Nelson certainly doubled at the Nile, and according to Captain Edward
Berry, who was captain of his flagship, he did it deliberately. 'It is
almost unnecessary,' he wrote in his narrative, 'to explain his
projected mode of attack at anchor, as that was minutely and precisely
executed in the action.... These plans however were formed two months
before, ... and the advantage now was that they were familiar to the
understanding of every captain in the fleet.' Nelson probably felt
that the dangers attending doubling in an action under sail are
scarcely appreciable in an action at anchor with captains whose
steadiness he could trust. Still Saumarez, his second in command,
regarded it as a mistake, and there was a good deal of complaint of
our ships having suffered from each other's fire.[7]

Amongst the more important retentions of tactical signals we find that
for Hoste's method of giving battle to a numerically superior force by
leaving gaps in your own line between van, centre and rear. The
wording however is changed. It is no longer enjoined as a means of
avoiding being doubled. As Howe inserted it in MS. the signification
now ran 'for the van or particular divisions to engage the headmost of
the enemy's van, the rear the sternmost of the enemy's rear, and the
centre the centre of the enemy. But with exception of the flag
officers of the fleet who should engage those of the enemy
respectively in preference.'[8] This signification again is
considerably modified by the Explanatory Instructions. Article XXIV.,
it will be seen, says nothing of engaging the centre or of leaving
regular gaps. The leading ship is to engage the enemy's leading ship,
and the rearmost the rearmost, while the rest are to select the
largest ships they can get at, and leave the weaker ones alone till
the stronger are disabled. It was in effect the adoption of Hoste's
fifth rule for engaging a numerically superior fleet instead of his
first, and it is a plan which he condemns except in the case of your
being individually superior to your enemy, as indeed the English
gunnery usually made them.

The curious signal No. 218 of 1782 for attacking the enemy's rear in
succession by 'defiling' on the Elizabethan plan was also retained. In
the Signal Book of 1799 it ran, 'to fire in succession upon the
sternmost ships of the enemy, then tack or wear and take station in
rear of the squadron or division specified (if a part of the fleet is
so appointed) until otherwise directed.'

It has been already said that the alterations in the edition of 1799
were not of great importance, but one or two additions must be
noticed. The most noteworthy is a new signal for carrying out the
important rule of Article IX. of the Instructions of 1782 (Article
X. of 1799), providing for the formation of a _corps de reserve_
when you are numerically superior to the enemy, as was done by
Villeneuve on Gravina's advice in 1805, although fortunately for
Nelson it was not put in practice at Trafalgar.

The other addition appears in MS. at the end of the printed signals.
It runs as follows: 'When at anchor in line of battle to let go a
bower anchor under foot, and pass a stout hawser from one ship to
another, beginning at the weathermost ship,' an addition which would
seem to have been suggested by what had recently occurred at the Nile.
Nelson's own order was as follows: '_General Memorandum_.--As the
wind will probably blow along shore, when it is deemed necessary to
anchor and engage the enemy at their anchorage it is recommended to
each line-of-battle ship of the squadron to prepare to anchor with the
sheet cable in abaft and springs, &c.'[9] Another copy of the signal
book has a similar MS. addition to the signal 'Prepare for battle and
for anchoring with springs, &c.'[10] It runs thus: 'A bower is to be
unbent, and passed through the stern port and bent to the anchor,
leaving that anchor hanging by the stopper only.--Lord Nelson, St.
George, 26 March, 1801. If with a red pennant over with a spring
only.--Commander-in-chiefs Order Book, 27 March, 1801.' These
therefore were additions made immediately before the attack on the
Danish fleet at Copenhagen.

No other change was made, and it may be said that Howe's new method of
breaking the line was the last word on the form of attack for a
sailing fleet. How far its full intention and possibilities were
understood at first is doubtful. The accounts of the naval actions
that followed show no lively appreciation on the part of the bulk of
British captains. On the First of June the new signal for breaking
through the line at all points was the first Howe made, and it was
followed as soon as the moment for action arrived by that 'for each
ship to steer for, independently of each other, and engage
respectively the ship opposed in situation to them in the enemy's
line.' The result was an action along the whole line, during which
Howe himself at the earliest opportunity passed through the enemy's
line and engaged on the other side, though as a whole the fleet
neglected to follow either his signal or his example.

In the next great action, that of St. Vincent, the circumstances were
not suitable for the new manoeuvre, seeing that the Spaniards had not
formed line. Jervis had surprised the enemy in disorder on a hazy
morning after a change of wind, and this was precisely the 'not very
probable case' which Clerk of Eldin had instanced as justifying a
perpendicular attack. Whether or not Jervis had Clerk's instance in
his mind, he certainly did deliver a perpendicular attack. The signal
with which he opened, according to the signification as given in the
flagship's log, was 'The admiral intends to pass through the enemy's
line.'[11] There is nothing to show whether this meant Howe's
manoeuvre or Rodney's, for we do not know whether at this time the
instruction existed which enabled the two movements to be
distinguished by a pennant over.

What followed however was that the fleet passed between the two
separated Spanish squadrons in line ahead as Clerk advised. The next
thing to do, according to Clerk, was for the British fleet to wear or
tack together, but instead of doing so Jervis signalled to tack in
succession, and then repeated the signal to pass through the enemy's
line although it was still unformed. It was at this moment that Nelson
made his famous independent movement that saved the situation, and
what he did was in effect as though Jervis had made the signal to tack
together as Clerk enjoined. Thereupon Jervis, with the intention
apparently of annulling his last order to pass through the line, made
the signal, which seems to have been the only one which the captains
of those days believed in--viz. to take suitable stations for mutual
support and engage the enemy on arriving up with them in
succession. In practice it was little more than a frank relapse to the
methods of the early Commonwealth, and it was this signal and not that
for breaking the line which made the action general.

Again, at the battle of Camperdown, Duncan, while trying to form
single line from two columns of sailing, began with the signal for
each ship to steer independently for her opponent. This was
followed--the fleet having failed to form line parallel to the enemy,
and being still in two disordered columns--by signals for the lee or
van division to engage the enemy's rear, and as some thought the
weather division his centre; and ten minutes later came the new signal
for passing through the line. The result was an action almost exactly
like that of Nelson at Trafalgar--that is, though the leading ships
duly acted on the combination of the two signals for engaging their
opposites and for breaking the line, each at its opposite interval,
the rest was a _melee_; for, since what was fundamentally a
parallel attack was attempted as a perpendicular one, it could be
nothing but a scramble for the rear ships.

In none of these actions therefore is there any evidence that Howe's
attempt to impress the service with a serious scientific view of
tactics had been successful, and the impression which they made upon
our enemies suggests that the real spirit that inspired British
officers at this time was something very different from that which
Howe had tried to instil. Writing of the battle of St. Vincent, Don
Domingo Perez de Grandallana, whose masterly studies of the French and
English naval systems and tactics raised him to the highest offices of
state, has the following passage: 'An Englishman enters a naval action
with the firm conviction that his duty is to hurt his enemies and help
his friends and allies without looking out for directions in the midst
of the fight; and while he thus clears his mind of all subsidiary
distractions, he rests in confidence on the certainty that his
comrades, actuated by the same principles as himself, will be bound by
the sacred and priceless law of mutual support. Accordingly, both he
and all his fellows fix their minds on acting with zeal and judgment
upon the spur of the moment, and with the certainty that they will not
be deserted. Experience shows, on the contrary, that a Frenchman or a
Spaniard, working under a system which leans to formality and strict
order being maintained in battle, has no feeling for mutual support,
and goes into action with hesitation, preoccupied with the anxiety of
seeing or hearing the commander-in-chief's signals for such and such
manoeuvres.... Thus they can never make up their minds to seize any
favourable opportunity that may present itself. They are fettered by
the strict rule to keep station, which is enforced upon them in both
navies, and the usual result is that in one place ten of their ships
may be firing on four, while in another four of their comrades may be
receiving the fire of ten of the enemy. Worst, of all, they are denied
the confidence inspired by mutual support, which is as surely
maintained by the English as it is neglected by us, who will not learn
from them.'[12]

This was probably the broad truth of the matter; it is summed up in
the golden signal which was the panacea of British admirals when in
doubt: 'Ships to take station for mutual support and engage as they
come up;' and it fully explains why, with all the scientific
appreciation of tactics that existed in the leading admirals of this
time, their battles were usually so confused and haphazard. The truth
is that in the British service formal tactics had come to be regarded
as a means of getting at your enemy, and not as a substitute for
initiative in fighting him.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Dictionary of National Biography, sub voce_ 'Howe,' p. 97.

[2] A copy of this is in the Admiralty Library issued to 'Thomas Lenox
Frederick esq., Rear-Admiral of the Blue,' and attested by the
autographs of Vice-Admiral James Gambier, Vice-Admiral James Young, and
another lord of the admiralty, and countersigned by William Marsden, the
famous numismatist and Oriental scholar, who was 'second secretary' from
1795 to 1804. Another copy, also in the Admiralty Library, is attested
by Gambier, Sir John Colpoys and Admiral Philip Patton, and
countersigned by the new second secretary, John Barrow, all of whom came
to the admiralty under Lord Melville on Pitt's return to office in 1804.
Two other copies are in the United Service Institution.

[3] Sir Home Popham's code had been in use for many years for
'telegraphing.' It was by this code Nelson's famous signal was made at
Trafalgar.

[4] In one of the United Service Institution copies the signal has
been added in MS. and the note is on a slip pasted in. In the other both
signal and note are printed with blanks in which the distinguishing
pennants have been written in.

[5] Nelson to Howe, January 8, 1799. _Nicolas_, iii. 230.

[6] Sir Charles H. Knowles did modify his code in this way some time
after 1798. For his original signal he substituted two in MS. with the
following neatly worded significations: 'No. 32. To break through the
enemy's line together and engage on the opposite side. No. 33. To break
through the enemy's line in succession and engage on the other side.'
Had these two lucid significations been adopted by Howe there would have
been no possible ambiguity as to what was meant.

[7] Laughton, _Nelson's Letters and Despatches_, p. 151. Ross, _Memoir
of Lord de Saumarez_, vol. i.

[8] This last mediaeval proviso was omitted in the later editions. It
is not found in Hoste.

[9] Ross, _Memoir of Saumarez_, i. 212. Nelson refers to 'Signal 54,
Art. XXXVII. of the Instructions,' which must have been a special and
amplified set issued by Jervis. There is no Art. XXXVII. in Howe's set.

[10] In the United Service Institution.

[11] _Logs of the Great Sea Fights_, i. 210. The log probably only
gives an abbreviation of the signification. Unless Jervis had changed
it, its exact wording was 'The admiral means to pass between the ships
of their line for engaging them to leeward,' &c. See _supra_, p. 255.

[12] Fernandez Duro, _Armada Espanola_, viii. 111.



_LORD HOWE'S EXPLANATORY INSTRUCTIONS_.

[+Signal Book, 1799+.[1]]

_Instructions for the conduct of the fleet preparatory to their
engaging, and when engaged, with an enemy_.


I. When the signal is made for the fleet to form the line of battle,
each flag officer and captain is to get into his station as
expeditiously as possible, and to keep in close order, if not
otherwise directed, and under a proportion of sail suited to that
carried by the admiral, or by the senior flag officer remaining in the
line when the admiral has signified his intention to quit it.

II. The chief purposes for which a fleet is formed in line of battle
are: that the ships may be able to assist and support each other in
action; that they may not be exposed to the fire of the enemy's ships
greater in number than themselves; and that every ship may be able to
fire on the enemy without risk of firing into the ships of her own
fleet.

III. If, after having made a signal to prepare to form the line of
battle on either line of bearing, the admiral, keeping the preparative
flag flying, should make several signals in succession, to point out
the manner in which the line is to be formed, those signals are to be
carefully written down, that they may be carried into execution, when
the signal for the line is hoisted again; they are to be executed in
the order in which they were made, excepting such as the admiral may
annul previously to his hoisting again the signal for the line.

IV. If any part of the fleet should be so far to leeward, when the
signal is made for the line of battle, that the admiral should think
it necessary to bear up and stand towards them, he will do it with the
signal No. 105 hoisted.[2] The ships to leeward are thereupon to
exert themselves to get as expeditiously as possible into their
stations in the line.

V. Ships which have been detached from the body of the fleet, on any
separate service, are not to obey the signal for forming the line of
battle, unless they have been previously called back to the fleet by
signal.

VI. Ships which cannot keep their stations are to quit the line, as
directed in Article 9 of the General Instructions, though in the
presence of an enemy.[3] The captains of such ships will not thereby
be prevented from distinguishing themselves, as they will have
opportunities of rendering essential service, by placing their ships
advantageously when they get up with the enemy already engaged with
the other part of the fleet.

VII. When the signal to form a line of bearing for either tack is
made, the ships (whatever course they may be directed to steer) are to
place themselves in such a manner that if they were to haul to the
wind together on the tack for which the line of bearing is formed,
they would immediately form a line of battle on that tack. To do this,
every ship must bring the ship which would be her second ahead, if the
line of battle were formed, to bear on that point of the compass on
which the line of battle would sail, viz., on that point of the
compass which is seven points from the direction of the wind, or six
points if the signal is made to keep _close_ to the wind.

As the intention of a line of bearing is to keep the fleet ready to
form suddenly a line of battle, the position of the division or
squadron flags, shown with the signal for such a line, will refer to
the forming of the line of battle; that division or squadron whose
flag is uppermost (without considering whether it do or do not form
the van of the line of bearing) is to place itself in that station
which would become the van if the fleet should haul to the wind and
form the line of battle; and the division whose flag is undermost is
to place itself in that station in which it would become the rear if
by hauling to the wind the line of battle should be formed.[4]

VIII. When a line of bearing has been formed, the ships are to
preserve that relative bearing from each other, whenever they are
directed to alter the course together; but if they are directed to
alter the course in succession, as the line of bearing will by that be
destroyed, it is no longer to be attended to.

IX. If the signal to make more or less sail is made when the fleet is
in line of battle, the frigate appointed to repeat signals will set
the same sails as are carried by the admiral's ship; the ships are
then in succession (from the rear if to shorten, or the van, if to
make more, sail) to put themselves under a proportion of sail
correspondent to their comparative rate of sailing with the admiral's
ship.

To enable captains to do this it will be necessary that they acquire a
perfect knowledge of the proportion of sail required for suiting their
rate of sailing to that of the admiral, under the various changes in
the quantity of sail, and state of the weather; which will enable
them, not only to keep their stations in the line of battle, but also
to keep company with the fleet on all other occasions.

When the signal to make more sail is made, if the admiral is under his
topsails he will probably set the Foresail.

If the signal is repeated, or if the foresail is set he will probably
set Jib and staysails.

If the foresail, jib, and staysails are set, he will set the
Topgallant-sails.

Or in equally weather Mainsail.

When the signal to shorten sail is made, he will probably take in sail
in a gradation the reverse of the preceding.

X. Ships which are ordered by signal to withdraw from the line are to
place themselves to windward of the fleet if it has the weather-gage
of the enemy, or to leeward and ahead if the contrary; and are to be
ready to assist any ship which may want their assistance, or to act in
any other manner as directed by signal.

If the ships so withdrawn, or any others which may have been detached,
should be unable to resume their stations in the line when ordered by
signal to do so, they are to attack the enemy's ships in any part of
the line on which they may hope to make the greatest impression.[5]

XI. If the fleet should engage an enemy inferior to it in number, or
which, by the flight of some of their ships, becomes inferior, the
ships which, at either extremity of the line, are thereby left without
opponents may, after the action is begun, quit the line without
waiting for a signal to do so; and they are to distress the enemy, or
assist the ships of the fleet, in the best manner that circumstances
will allow.

XII. When any number of ships, not having a flag officer with them,
are detached from the fleet to act together, they are to obey all
signals which are accompanied by the flag appropriated to detachments,
and are not to attend to any made without that flag. But if a flag
officer, commanding a squadron, or division, be with such detachment,
all the ships of it are to consider themselves, for the time, as
forming part of the division, or squadron, of such flag officer; and
they are to obey those signals, and only those, which are accompanied
by his distinguishing flag.

XIII. Great care is at all times to be taken not to fire at the enemy,
either over, or very near to, any ships of the fleet; nor, though the
signal for battle should be flying, is any ship to fire till she is
placed in a proper situation, and at a proper distance from the enemy.

XIV. If, when the signal for battle is made, the ships are steering
down for the enemy, they are to haul to the wind, or to any course
parallel to the enemy, and are to engage them when properly placed,
without waiting for any particular signal; but every ship must be
attentive to the motions of that ship which will be her second ahead,
when formed parallel to the enemy, that she may have room to haul up
without running on board of her. The distance of the ships from each
other during the action must be governed by that of their respective
opponents on the enemy's line.

XV. No ship is to Separate from the body of the fleet, in time of
action, to pursue any small number of the enemy's ships which have
been beaten out of the line, unless the commander-in-chief, or some
other flag officer, be among them; but the ships which have disabled
their opponents, or forced them to quit the line, are to assist any
ship of the fleet appearing to be much pressed, and to continue their
attack till the main body of the enemy be broken or disabled; unless
by signal, or particular instruction, they should be directed to act
otherwise.

XVI. If any ship should be so disabled as to be in great danger of
being destroyed, or taken by the enemy, and should make a signal,
expressive of such extremity, the ships nearest to her, and which are
the least engaged with the enemy, are strictly enjoined to give her
immediately all possible aid and protection; and any fireship, in a
situation which admits of its being done, is to endeavour to burn the
enemy's ship opposed to her; and any frigate, that may be near, is to
use every possible exertion for her relief, either by towing her off,
or by joining in the attack of the enemy, or by covering the fireship;
or, if necessity require it, by taking out the crew of the disabled
ship; or by any other means which circumstances at the time will
admit.[6]

XVII. Though a ship be disabled, and hard pressed by the enemy in
battle, she is not to quit her station in the line, if it can possibly
be avoided, till the captain shall have obtained permission so to do
from the commander of the squadron, or division, to which he belongs,
or from some other flag officer. But if he should be ordered out of
the line, or should be obliged to quit it, before assistance can be
sent to him, the nearest ships are immediately to occupy the space
become vacant, to prevent the enemy from taking advantage of it.

XVIII. If there should be found a captain so lost to all sense of
honour and the great duty he owes his country, as not to exert himself
to the utmost to get into action with the enemy, or to take or destroy
them when engaged; the commander of the squadron, or division, to
which he belongs, or the nearest flag officer, is to suspend him from
his command, and is to appoint some other officer to command the ship,
till the admiral's pleasure shall be known.

XIX. When, from the advantage obtained by the enemy over the fleet, or
from bad weather, or from any other cause, the admiral makes the
signal for the fleet to disperse, every captain will be left to act as
he shall judge most proper for the preservation of the ship he
commands, and the good of the king's service; but he is to endeavour
to go to the appointed rendezvous, if it may be done with safety.

XX. The ships are to be kept at all times as much prepared for battle
as circumstances will admit; and if the fleet come to action with an
enemy which has the weather-gage, boats, well armed, are to be held in
readiness, with hand and fire-chain grapnels in them; and if the
weather will admit, they are to be hoisted out, and kept on the
offside from the enemy, for the purpose of assisting any ships against
which fireships shall be sent; or for supporting the fireships of the
fleet, if they should be sent against the enemy.[7]

XXI. The ships appointed to protect and cover fireships, when ordered
on service, or which, without being appointed, are in a situation to
cover and protect them, are to receive on board their crews, and,
keeping between them and the enemy, to go with them as near as
possible to the ships they are directed to destroy. All the boats of
those ships are to be well armed, and to be employed in covering the
retreat of the fireship's boats, and in defending the ship from any
attempts that may be made on her by the boats of the enemy.

XXII. If the ship of any flag officer be disabled in battle, the flag
officer may repair on board, and hoist his flag in any other ship (not
already carrying a flag) that he shall think proper; but he is to
hoist it in one of his own squadron or division if there be one near,
and fit for the purpose.

XXIII. If a squadron or any detachment be directed by signal to gain
or keep the wind of the enemy, the officer commanding it is to act in
such manner as shall in his judgment be the most effectual for the
total defeat of the enemy; either by reinforcing those parts of the
fleet which are opposed to superior force, or by attacking such parts
of the enemy's line as, by their weakness, may afford reasonable hopes
of their being easily broken,

XXIV. When the signal (30) is made to extend the line from one
extremity of the enemy's line to the other, though the enemy have a
greater number of ships, the leading ship is to engage the leading
ship, and the sternmost ship the sternmost of the enemy; and the other
ships are, as far as their situation will admit, to engage the ships
of greatest force, leaving the weaker ships unattacked till the
stronger shall have been disabled.[8]

XXV. If the admiral, or any commander of a squadron or division, shall
think fit to change his station in the line, in order to place himself
opposite to the admiral or the commander of a similar squadron or
division in the enemy's line, he will make the Signal 47 for quitting
the line in his own ship, without showing to what other part of the
line he means to go; the ships ahead or astern (as circumstances may
require) of the station opposed to the commander in the enemy's line
are then to close and make room for him to get into it. But if the
admiral, being withdrawn from the line, should think fit to return to
any particular place in it, he will make the signal No. 269 with the
distinguishing signal of his own ship, and soon after he will hoist
the distinguishing signal of the ship astern of which he means to
take, his station. And if he should direct by signal any other ship to
take a station in the line, he will also hoist the distinguishing
signal of the ship astern of which he would have her placed, if she is
not to take the station assigned her in the line of battle given out.

XXVI. When the Signal 29 is made for each ship to steer for her
opponent in the enemy's line, the ships are to endeavour, by making or
shortening sail, to close with their opponents and bring them to
action at the same time; but they must be extremely careful not to
pass too near each other, nor to do anything which may risk their
running on board each other: they may engage as soon as they are well
closed with their opponents, and properly placed for that purpose.

XXVII. When the Signal 28 is made, for ships to form as most
convenient, and attack the enemy as they get up with them; the ships
are to engage to windward or to leeward, as from the situation of the
enemy they shall find most advantageous; but the leading ships must be
very cautious not to suffer themselves to be drawn away so far from
the body of the fleet as to risk the being surrounded and cut off.

XXVIII. When Signal 14 is made to prepare for battle and for
anchoring, the ships are to have springs on their bower anchors, and
the end of the sheet cable taken in at the stern port, with springs on
the anchor to be prepared for anchoring without winding if they should
go to the attack with the wind aft. The boats should be hoisted out
and hawsers coiled in the launches, with the stream anchor ready to
warp them into their stations, or to assist other ships which may be
in want of assistance. Their spare yards and topmasts, if they cannot
be left in charge of some vessel, should in moderate weather be lashed
alongside, near the water, on the off-side from the battery or ship to
be attacked. The men should be directed to lie down on the off side of
the deck from the enemy, whenever they are not wanted, if the ship
should be fired at as they advance to the attack.

XXIX. When the line of battle has been formed as most convenient,
without regard to the prescribed form, the ships which happen to be
ahead of the centre are to be considered, for the time, as the
starboard division, and those astern of the centre as the larboard
division of the fleet; and if the triangular flag, white with a red
fly, be hoisted, the line is to be considered as being divided into
the same number of squadrons and divisions as in the established line
of battle. The ship which happens at the time to lead the fleet is to
be considered as the leader of the van squadron, and every other ship
which happens to be in the station of the leader of the squadron or
division is to be considered as being the leader of that squadron or
division, and the intermediate ships are to form the squadrons or
divisions of such leaders, and to follow them as long as the
triangular flag is flying, and every flag officer is to be considered
as the commander of the squadron or division in which he may be
accidentally placed.

XXX. If the wind should come forward when the fleet is formed in line
of battle, or is sailing by the wind in a line of bearing, the leading
ship is to continue steering seven points from the wind, and every
other ship is to haul as close to the wind as possible, till she has
got into the wake of the leading ship, or till she shall have brought
it on the proper point of bearing; but if the wind should come aft,
the sternmost ship is to continue steering seven points from the wind,
and the other ships are to haul close to the wind till they have
brought the sternmost ship into their wake, or on the proper point of
bearing.

XXXI. If Signal 27, to break through the enemy's line, be made without
a 'red pennant' being hoisted, it is evident that to obey it the line
of battle must be entirely broken; but if a 'red pennant' be hoisted
at either mast-head, that fleet is to preserve the line of battle as
it passes through the enemy's line, and to preserve it in very close
order, that such of the enemy's ships as are cut off may not find an
opportunity of passing through it to rejoin their fleet.

If a signal of number be made immediately after this signal, it will
show the number of ships of the enemy's van or rear which the fleet is
to endeavour to cut off. If the closing of the enemy's line should
prevent the ships passing through the part pointed out, they are to
pass through as near to it as they can.

If any of the ships should find it impracticable, in either of the
above cases, to pass through the enemy's line, they are to act in the
best manner that circumstances will admit of for the destruction of
the enemy.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Similar but not identical instructions are referred to in the
Signal Book of 1790. The above were reproduced in all subsequent
editions till the end of the war.

[2] 'Ships to leeward to get in the admiral's wake.'

[3] The instructions referred to are the 'General Instructions for the
conduct of the fleet.' They are the first of the various sets which the
Signal Book contained, and relate to books to be kept, boats, keeping
station, evolutions and the like. Article IX. is 'If from any cause
whatever a ship should find it impossible to keep her station in any
line or order of sailing, she is not to break the line or order by
persisting too long in endeavouring to preserve it; but she is to quit
the line and form in the rear, doing everything she can to keep up with
the fleet.'

[4] See at p. 235, as to the new sailing formation in three columns.

[5] It should be noted that this is an important advance on the
corresponding Article IX. of the previous instructions, and that it
contains a germ of the organisation of Nelson's Trafalgar memorandum.

[6] The continued insistence on fireship tactics in this and Articles
XX. and XXI. should again be noted, although from 1793 to 1802 the
number of fireships on the Navy List averaged under four out of a total
that increased from 304 to 517.

[7] It should be remembered that at this time there were no davits and
no boats hoisted up. They were all carried in-board.

[8] This is a considerable modification of the signification of the
signal; see _supra_, p. 263.



NELSON'S TACTICAL MEMORANDA

INTRODUCTORY


The first of these often quoted memoranda is the 'Plan of Attack,'
usually assigned to May 1805, when Nelson was in pursuit of
Villeneuve, and it is generally accompanied by two erroneous diagrams
based on the number of ships which he then had under his command. But,
as Professor Laughton has ingeniously conjectured, it must really
belong to a time two years earlier, when Nelson was off Toulon in
constant hope of the French coming out to engage him.[1] The
strength and organisation of Nelson's fleet at that time, as well as
the numbers of the French fleet, exactly correspond to the data of the
memorandum. To Professor Laughton's argument may be added another,
which goes far actually to fix the date. The principal signal which
Nelson's second method of attack required was 'to engage to leeward.'
Now this signal as it stood in the Signal Book of 1799 was to some
extent ambiguous. It was No. 37, and the signification was 'to engage
the enemy on their larboard side, or to leeward if by the wind,' while
No. 36 was 'to engage the enemy on their starboard side if going
before the wind, or to windward if by the wind.' Accordingly we find
Nelson issuing a general order, with the object apparently of removing
the ambiguity, and of rendering any confusion between starboard and
larboard and leeward and windward impossible. It is in Nelson's order
book, under date November 22, 1803, and runs as follows:

'If a pennant is shown over signal No. 36, it signifies that ships are
to engage on the enemy's starboard side, whether going large or upon a
wind.

'If a pennant is shown in like manner over No. 37, it signifies that
ships are to engage on the enemy's larboard side, whether going large
or upon a wind.

'These additions to be noted in the Signal Book in pencil only.'[2]

The effect of this memorandum was, of course, that Nelson had it in
his power to let every captain know, without a shadow of doubt, under
all conditions of wind, on which side he meant to engage the enemy.

To the evidence of the Signal Book may be added a passage in Nelson's
letter to Admiral Sir A. Ball from the Magdalena Islands, November 7,
1803. He there writes: 'Our last two reconnoiterings: Toulon has
eight sail of the line apparently ready for sea ... a seventy-four
repairing. Whether they intend waiting for her I can't tell, but I
expect them every hour to put to sea.'[3] He was thus expecting to
have to deal with eight or nine of the line, which is the precise
contingency for which the memorandum provides. There can be little
doubt therefore that it was issued while Nelson lay at Magdalena, the
first week in November 1803.[4]

The second memorandum, which Nelson communicated to his fleet, soon
after he joined it off Cadiz, is regarded by universal agreement as
the high-water mark of sailing tactics. Its interpretation however,
and the dominant ideas that inspired it, no less than the degree to
which it influenced the battle and was in the mind of Nelson and his
officers at the time, are questions of considerable uncertainty. Some
of the most capable of his captains, as we shall see presently, even
disagreed as to whether Trafalgar was fought under the memorandum at
all. From the method in which the attack was actually made, so
different apparently from the method of the memorandum, some thought
Nelson had cast it aside, while others saw that it still applied. A
careful consideration of all that was said and done at the time gives
a fairly clear explanation of the divergence of opinion, and it will
probably be agreed that those officers who had a real feeling for
tactics saw that Nelson was making his attack on what were the
essential principles of the memorandum, while some on the other hand
who were possessed of less tactical insight did not distinguish
between what was essential and what was accidental in Nelson's great
conception, and, mistaking the shadow for the substance, believed that
he had abandoned his carefully prepared project.

For those who did not entirely grasp Nelson's meaning there is much
excuse. We who are able to follow step by step the progress of
tactical thought from the dawn of the sailing period can appreciate
without much difficulty the radical revolution which he was setting on
foot. It was a revolution, as we can plainly see, that was tending to
bring the long-drawn curve of tactical development round to the point
at which the Elizabethans had started. Surprise is sometimes expressed
that, having once established the art of warfare under sail in
broadside ships, our seamen were so long in finding the tactical
system it demanded. Should not the wonder be the converse: that the
Elizabethan seamen so quickly came so near the perfected method of the
greatest master of the art? The attack at Gravelines in 1588 with four
mutually supporting squadrons in echelon bears strong elementary
resemblance to that at Trafalgar in 1805. It was in dexterity and
precision of detail far more than in principle that the difference
lay. The first and the last great victory of the British navy had
certainly more in common with each other than either had with Malaga
or the First of June. In the zenith of their careers Nelson and Drake
came very near to joining hands. Little wonder then if many of
Nelson's captains failed to fathom the full depth of his profound
idea. Naval officers in those days were left entirely without
theoretical instruction on the higher lines of their profession, and
Nelson, if we may judge by the style of his memoranda, can hardly have
been a very lucid expositor. He thought they all understood what with
pardonable pride he called the 'Nelson touch.' The most sagacious and
best educated of them probably did, but there were clearly some--and
Collingwood, as we shall see, was amongst them--who only grasped some
of the complex principles which were combined in his brilliant
conception.

An analysis of the memorandum will show how complex it was. In the
first and foremost place there is a clear note of denunciation against
the long established fallacy of the old order of battle in single
line. Secondly, there is in its stead the reestablishment of the
primitive system of mutually supporting squadrons in line
ahead. Thirdly, there is the principle of throwing one squadron in
superior force upon one end of the enemy's formation, and using the
other squadrons to cover the attack or support it if need
arose. Fourthly, there is the principle of concealment--that is,
disposing the squadrons in such a manner that even after the real
attack has been delivered the enemy cannot tell what the containing
squadrons mean to do, and in consequence are forced to hold their
parrying move in suspense. The memorandum also included the idea of
concentration, and this is often spoken of as its conspicuous
merit. But in the idea of concentration there was nothing new, even if
we go back no further than Rodney. It was only the method of
concentration, woven out of his four fundamental innovations, that was
new. Moreover, as Nelson delivered the attack, he threw away the
simple idea of concentration. For a suddenly conceived strategical
object he deliberately exposed the heads of his columns to what with
almost any other enemy would have been an overwhelming superiority. On
the other hand, by making, as he did, a perpendicular instead of a
parallel attack, as he had intended, he accentuated--it is true at
enormous risk--the cardinal points of his design; that is, he departed
still further from the old order of battle, and he still further
concealed from the enemy what the real attack was to be, and after it
was developed what the containing squadron was going to do.
Concentration in fact was only the crude and ordinary raw material of
a design of unmatched subtlety and invention.

The keynote of his conception, then, was his revolutionary
substitution of the primitive Elizabethan and early seventeenth
century method for the fetish of the single line. For some time it is
true the established battle order had been blown upon from various
quarters, but no one as yet had been able to devise any system
convincing enough to dethrone it. It will be remembered that at least
as early as 1759 an Additional Instruction had provided for a battle
order in two lines, but it does not appear ever to have been
used.[5] Rodney's manoeuvre again had foreshadowed the use of parts
of the line independently for the purpose of concentration and
containing. In 1782 Clerk of Eldin had privately printed his
_Essay_, which contained suggestions for an attack from to-windward,
with the line broken up into echeloned divisions in close
resemblance to the disposition laid down in Nelson's memorandum. In
1790 this part of his work was published. Meanwhile an even more
elaborate and well-reasoned assault on the whole principle of the
single line had appeared in France. In 1787 the Vicomte de Grenier, a
French flag officer, had produced his _L'Art de la Guerre sur
Mer_, in which he boldly attacked the law laid down by De Grasse,
that so long as men-of-war carried their main armament in broadside
batteries there could never be any battle order but the single line
ahead. In Grenier's view the English had already begun to discard it,
and he insists that, in all the actions he had seen in the last two
wars, the English, knowing the weakness of the single line, had almost
always concentrated on part of it without regular order. The radical
defects of the line he points out are: that it is easily thrown into
disorder and easily broken, that it is inflexible, and too extended a
formation to be readily controlled by signals. He then proceeds to
lay down the principle on which a sound battle order should be framed,
and the fundamental objects at which it should aim[6]. His
postulates are thus stated:

'1. De rendre nulle une partie des forces de l'ennemi afin de
reunir toutes les siennes contre celles qui l'on attaque, ou qui
attaquent; et de vaincre ensuite le reste avec plus de facilite et
de certitude.

'2. De ne presenter a l'ennemi aucune partie de son armee qui
ne soit flanquee et ou il ne put combattre et vaincre s'il
vouloit se porter sur les parties de cette armee reconnues faibles
jusqu'a present.'

Never had the fundamental intention of naval tactics been stated with
so much penetration, simplicity, and completeness. The order, however,
which Grenier worked out--that of three lines of bearing disposed on
three sides of a lozenge--was somewhat fantastic and cumbrous, and it
seems to have been enough to secure for his clever treatise complete
neglect. It had even less effect on French tactics than had Nelson's
memorandum on our own. This is all the more curious, for so
thoroughly was the change that was coming over English tactics
understood in France that Villeneuve knew quite well the kind of
attack Nelson would be likely to make. In his General Instructions,
issued in anticipation of the battle, he says: 'The enemy will not
confine themselves to forming a line parallel to ours.... They will
try to envelope our rear, to break our line, and to throw upon those
of our ships that they cut off, groups of their own to surround and
crush them.' Yet he could not get away from the dictum of De Grasse,
and was able to think of no better way of meeting such an attack than
awaiting it 'in a single line of battle well closed up.'

In England things were little better. In spite of the fact that at
Camperdown Duncan had actually found a sudden advantage by attacking
in two divisions, no one had been found equal to the task of working
out a tactical system to meet the inarticulate demands of the tendency
which Grenier had noticed. The possibilities even of Rodney's
manoeuvre had not been followed up, and Howe had contented himself
with his brilliant invention for increasing the impact and decision of
the single line. It was reserved for Nelson's genius to bring a
sufficiently powerful solvent to bear on the crystallised opinion of
the service, and to find a formula which would shed all that was bad
and combine all that was good in previous systems.[7]

The dominating ideas that were in his mind become clearer, if we
follow step by step all the evidence that has survived as to the
genesis and history of his memorandum. As early as 1798, when he was
hoping to intercept Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt, he had adopted a
system which was not based on the single line, and so far as is known
this was the first tactical order he ever framed as a fleet
commander. It is contained in a general order issued from the Vanguard
on June 8 of that year, and runs as follows, as though hot from the
lesson of St. Vincent: 'As it is very probable the enemy will not be
formed in regular order on the approach of the squadron under my
command, I may in that case deem it most expedient to attack them by
separate divisions. In which case the commanders of divisions are
strictly enjoined to keep their ships in the closest possible order,
and on no account whatever to risk the separation of one of their
ships.'[8] The divisional organisation follows, being his own
division of six sail and two others of four each. 'Had he fallen in
with the French fleet at sea,' wrote Captain Berry, who was sent home
with despatches after the Nile, 'that he might make the best
impression upon any part of it that should appear the most vulnerable
or the most eligible for attack, he divided his force into three
sub-squadrons [one of six sail and two of four each]. Two of these
sub-squadrons were to attack the ships of war, while the third was to
pursue the transports and to sink and destroy as many as it
could.'[9] The exact manner in which he intended to use this
organisation he had explained constantly by word of mouth to his
captains, but no further record of his design has been found. Still
there is an alteration which he made in his signal book at the same
time that gives us the needed light. We cannot fail to notice the
striking resemblance between his method of attack by separate
divisions on a disordered enemy, and that made by the Elizabethan
admirals at Gravelines upon the Armada after its formation had been
broken up by the fireships. That attack was made intuitively by
divisions independently handled as occasion should dictate, and
Nelson's new signal leaves little doubt that this was the plan which
he too intended. The alteration he ordered was to change the
signification of Signal 16, so that it meant that each of his flag
officers, from the moment it was made, should have control of his own
division and make any signals he thought proper.

But this was not all. By the same general order he made two other
alterations in the signal book in view of encountering the French in
order of battle. They too are of the highest interest and run as
follows: 'To be inserted in pencil in the signal book. At
No. 182. Being to windward of the enemy, to denote I mean to attack
the enemy's line from the rear towards the van as far as thirteen
ships, or whatsoever number of the British ships of the line may be
present, that each ship may know his opponent in the enemy's line.'
No. 183. 'I mean to press hard with the whole force on the enemy's
rear.'[10]

Thus we see that at the very first opportunity Nelson had of enforcing
his own tactical ideas he enunciated three of the principles upon
which his great memorandum was based, viz. breaking up his line of
battle into three divisional lines, independent control by divisional
leaders, and concentration on the enemy's rear. All that is wanting
are the elements of surprise and containing.

These, however, we see germinating in the memorandum he issued five
years later off Toulon. In that case he expected to meet the French
fleet on an opposite course, and being mainly concerned in stopping it
and having a slightly superior force he is content to concentrate on
the van. But, in view of the strategical necessity of making the
attack in this way, he takes extra precautions which are not found in
the general order of 1798. He provides for preventing the enemy's
knowing on which side his attack is to fall; instead of engaging an
equal number of their ships he provides for breaking their line, and
engaging the bulk of their fleet with a superior number of his own;
and finally he looks to being ready to contain the enemy's rear before
it can do him any damage.

Thus, taking together the general order of 1798 and the Toulon
memorandum of 1803, we can see all the tactical ideas that were
involved at Trafalgar already in his mind, and we are in a position to
appreciate the process of thought by which he gradually evolved the
sublimely simple attack that welded them together, and brought them
all into play without complication or risk of mistake. This process,
which crowns Nelson's reputation as the greatest naval tactician of
all time, we must now follow in detail.

Shortly before he left England for the last time, he communicated to
Keats, of the Superb, a full explanation of his views as they then
existed in his mind, and Keats has preserved it in the following paper
which Nicolas printed.

'Memorandum of a conversation between Lord Nelson and Admiral Sir
Richard Keats, the last time he was in England before the battle of
Trafalgar.[11]

'One morning, walking with Lord Nelson in the grounds of Merton,
talking on naval matters, he said to me, "No day can be long enough to
arrange a couple of fleets and fight a decisive battle according to
the old system. When _we_ meet them" (I was to have been with
him), "for meet them we shall, I'll tell you how I shall fight them. I
shall form the fleet into three divisions in three lines; one division
shall be composed of twelve or fourteen of the fastest two-decked
ships, which I shall keep always to windward or in a situation of
advantage, and I shall put them under an officer who, I am sure, will
employ them in the manner I wish, if possible. I consider it will
always be in my power to throw them into battle in any part I choose;
but if circumstances prevent their being carried against the enemy
where I desire, I shall feel certain he will employ them effectually
and perhaps in a more advantageous manner than if he could have
followed my orders" (he never mentioned or gave any hint by which I
could understand who it was he intended for this distinguished
service).[12] He continued, "With the remaining part of the fleet,
formed in two lines, I shall go at them at once if I can, about one
third of their line from their leading ship." He then said, "What do
you think of it?" Such a question I felt required consideration. I
paused. Seeing it he said, "But I will tell you what _I_ think
of it. I think it will surprise and confound the enemy. They won't
know what I am about. It will bring forward a pell-mell battle, and
that is what I want."[13]

Here we have something roughly on all-fours with the methods of the
First Dutch War. There are the three squadrons, the headlong 'charge'
and the _melee_. The reserve squadron to windward goes even
further back, to the treatise of De Chaves and the Instructions of
Lord Lisle in 1545. It was no wonder it took away Keats's breath. The
return to primitive methods was probably unconscious, but what was
obviously uppermost in Nelson's mind was the breaking up of the
established order in single line, leading by surprise and concealment
to a decisive _melee_. He seems to insist not so much upon
defeating the enemy by concentration as by throwing him into
confusion, upsetting his mental equilibrium in accordance with the
primitive idea. The notion of concentration is at any rate secondary,
while the subtle scheme for 'containing' as perfected in the
memorandum is not yet developed. As he explained his plan to Keats, he
meant to attack at once with both his main divisions, using the
reserve squadron as a general support. There is no clear statement
that he meant it as a 'containing' force, though possibly it was in
his mind.[14]

There is one more piece of evidence relating to this time when he was
still in England. According to this story Lord Hill, about 1840, when
still Commander-in-Chief, was paying a visit to Lord Sidmouth. His
host, who, better known as Addington, had been prime minister till
1804, and was in Pitt's new cabinet till July 1805, showed him a table
bearing a Nelson inscription. He told him that shortly before leaving
England to join the fleet Nelson had drawn upon it after dinner a plan
of his intended attack, and had explained it as follows: 'I shall
attack in two lines, led by myself and Collingwood, and I am confident
I shall capture their van and centre or their centre and rear.'
'Those,' concluded Sidmouth, 'were his very words,' and remarked how
wonderfully they had been fulfilled.[15] Hill and Sidmouth at the
time were both old men and the authority is not high, but so far as it
goes it would tend to show that an attack in two lines instead of one
was still Nelson's dominant idea. It cannot however safely be taken as
evidence that he ever intended a concentration on the van, though in
view of the memorandum of 1803 this is quite possible.

Finally, there is the statement of Clarke and McArthur that Nelson
before leaving England deposited a copy of his plan with Lord Barham,
the new first lord of the admiralty. This however is very
doubtful. The Barham papers have recently been placed at the disposal
of the Society, in the hands of Professor Laughton, and the only copy
of the memorandum he has been able to find is an incomplete one
containing several errors of transcription, and dated the Victory,
October 11, 1805. In the absence of further evidence therefore no
weight can be attached to the oft-repeated assertion that Nelson had
actually drawn up his memorandum before he left England.

Coming now to the time when he had joined the fleet off Cadiz, the
first light we have is the well-known letter of October 1 to Lady
Hamilton. In this letter, after telling her that he had joined on
September 28, but had not been able to communicate with the fleet till
the 29th, he says, 'When I came to explain to them the _Nelson
touch_ it was like an electric shock. Some shed tears and all
approved. It was new--it was singular--it was simple.' What he meant
exactly by the 'Nelson touch' has never been clearly explained, but he
could not possibly have meant either concentration or the attack on
the enemy's rear, for neither of these ideas was either new or
singular.

On October 3 he writes to her again: 'The reception I met with on
joining the fleet caused the sweetest sensation of my life.... As
soon as these emotions were past I laid before them the plan I had
previously arranged for attacking the enemy, and it was not only my
pleasure to find it generally approved, but clearly perceived and
understood.'[16]

The next point to notice is the 'Order of Battle and Sailing' given by
Nicolas. It is without date, but almost certainly must have been drawn
up before Nelson joined. It does not contain the Belleisle, which
Nelson knew on October 4 was to join him.[17] It also does include
the name of Sir Robert Calder and his flagship, and on September 30
Nelson had decided to send both him and his ship home.[18]

The order is for a fleet of forty sail, but the names of only
thirty-three are given, which were all Nelson really expected to get
in time. The remarkable feature of this order is that it contains no
trace of the triple organisation of the memorandum. The 'advanced
squadron' is absent, and the order is based on two equal divisions
only.

Then on October 9, after Calder had gone, there is this entry in
Nelson's private diary: 'Sent Admiral Collingwood the Nelson touch.'
It was enclosed in a letter in which Nelson says: 'I send you my Plan
of Attack, as far as a man dare venture to guess at the very uncertain
position the enemy may be found in. But, my dear friend, it is to
place you perfectly at your ease respecting my intentions and to give
full scope to your judgment for carrying them into effect.' The same
day Collingwood replies, 'I have a just sense of your lordship's
kindness to me, and the full confidence you have reposed in me
inspires me with the most lively gratitude. I hope it will not be long
before there is an opportunity of showing your lordship that it has
not been misplaced.' On these two letters there can be little doubt
that the 'Plan of Attack' which Nelson enclosed was that of the
memorandum. The draft from which Nicolas printed appears to have been
dated October 9, and originally had in one passage 'you' and 'your'
for the 'second in command,' showing that Nelson in his mind was
addressing his remarks to Collingwood, though subsequently he altered
the sentence into the third person. Only one other copy was known to
Nicolas, and that was issued in the altered form to Captain Hope, of
the Defence, a ship which in the order of battle was in Collingwood s
squadron, but Codrington tells us it was certainly issued to all the
captains.[19]

So far, then, we have the case thus--that whatever Nelson may have
really told Lord Sidmouth, and whatever may have been in his mind when
he drew up the dual order of battle and sailing, he had by October 9
reverted to the triple idea which he had explained to Keats. Meanwhile,
however, his conception had ripened. There are marked changes in
organisation, method and intention. In organisation the reserve
squadron is reduced from the original twelve or fourteen to eight, or
one fifth of his hypothetical fleet instead of about one third--reduced,
that is, to a strength at which it was much less capable of important
independent action. In method we have, instead of an attack with the
two main divisions, an attack with one only, with the other covering
it. In intention we have as the primary function of the reserve
squadron, its attachment to one or other of the other two main
divisions as circumstances may dictate.

The natural inference from these important changes is that Nelson's
conception was now an attack in two divisions of different strength,
the stronger of which, as the memorandum subsequently explains, was to
be used as a containing force to cover the attack of the other, and
except that the balance of the two divisions was reversed, this is
practically just what Clerk of Eldin had recommended and what actually
happened in the battle. It is a clear advance upon the original idea
as explained to Keats, in which the third squadron was to be used on
the primitive and indefinite plan of De Chaves and Lord Lisle as a
general reserve. It also explains Nelson's covering letter to
Collingwood, in which he seems to convey to his colleague that the
pith of his plan was an attack in two divisions, and, within the
general lines of the design, complete freedom of action for the second
in command. How largely this idea of independent control entered into
the 'Nelson touch' we may judge from the fact that it is emphasised in
no less than three distinct paragraphs of the memorandum.

Such, then, is the fundamental principle of the memorandum as
enunciated in its opening paragraphs. He then proceeds to elaborate
it in two detailed plans of attack--one from to-leeward and the other
from to-windward. It was the latter he meant to make if possible. He
calls it 'the intended attack,' and it accords with the opening
enunciation. The organisation is triple, but no special function is
assigned to the reserve squadron. The actual attack on the enemy's
rear is to be made by Collingwood, while Nelson with his own division
and the reserve is to cover him. In the event of an attack having to
be made from to-leeward, the idea is different. Here the containing
movement practically disappears. The fleet is still to attack the rear
and part of the centre of the enemy, but now in three independent
divisions simultaneously, in such a way as to cut his line at three
points, and to concentrate a superior force on each section of the
severed line. To none of the divisions is assigned the duty of
containing the rest of the enemy's fleet from the outset. It is to be
dealt with at a second stage of the action by all ships that are still
capable of renewing the engagement after the first stage. 'The whole
impression,' as Nelson put it, in case he was forced to attack from
to-leeward, was to overpower the enemy's line from a little ahead of
the centre to the rearmost ship. He does not say, however, that this
was to be 'the whole impression' of the intended attack from
to-windward. 'The whole impression' there appears to be for
Collingwood to overpower the rear while Nelson with the other two
divisions made play with the enemy's van and centre; but the
particular manner in which he would carry out this part of the design
is left undetermined.

The important point, then, in considering the relation between the
actual battle and the memorandum, is to remember that it provided for
two different methods of attacking the rear according to whether the
enemy were encountered to windward or to leeward. The somewhat
illogical arrangement of the memorandum tends to conceal this highly
important distinction. For Nelson interpolates between his explanation
of the windward attack and his opening enunciation of principle his
explanation of the leeward attack, to which the enunciation did not
apply. That some confusion was caused in the minds of some even of his
best officers is certain, but let them speak for themselves.

After the battle Captain Harvey, of the Temeraire, whom Nelson
had intended to lead his line, wrote to his wife, 'It was noon before
the action commenced, which was done according to the instructions
given us by Lord Nelson.... Lord Nelson had given me leave to lead and
break through the line about the fourteenth ship,' _i.e._ two or
three ships ahead of the centre, as explained in the memorandum for
the leeward attack but not for the windward.

On the other hand we have Captain Moorsom, of the Revenge, who was in
Collingwood's division, saying exactly the opposite. Writing to his
father on December 4, he says, 'I have seen several plans of the
action, but none to answer my ideas of it. A regular plan was laid
down by Lord Nelson some time before the action but not acted on. His
great anxiety seemed to be to get to leeward of them lest they should
make off to Cadiz before he could get near them.' And on November 1,
to the same correspondent he had written, 'I am not certain that our
mode of attack was the best: however, it succeeded.' Here then we have
two of Nelson's most able captains entirely disagreeing as to whether
or not the attack was carried out in accordance with any plan which
Nelson laid down.

Captain Moorsom's view may be further followed in a tactical study
written by his son, Vice-Admiral Constantine Moorsom.[20] His remarks
on Trafalgar were presumably largely inspired by his father, who lived
till 1835. In his view there was 'an entire alteration both of the
scientific principle and of the tactical movements,' both of which he
thinks were due to what he calls the _morale_ of the enemy's
attitude--that is, that Nelson was afraid they were going to slip
through his fingers into Cadiz. The change of plan--meaning presumably
the change from the triple to the dual organisation--he thinks was not
due to the reduced numbers which Nelson actually had under his flag,
for the ratio between the two fleets remained much about the same as
that of his hypothesis.

The interesting testimony of Lieutenant G.L. Browne, who, as Admiral
Jackson informs us, was assistant flag-lieutenant in the Victory and
had every means of knowing, endorses the view of the Moorsoms.[21]
After explaining to his parents the delay caused by the established
method of forming the fleets in two parallel lines so that each had an
opposite number, as set forth in the opening words of the memorandum,
he says, 'but by his lordship's mode of attack you will clearly
perceive not an instant of time could be lost. The frequent
communications he had with his admirals and captains put them in
possession of all his plans, so that his mode of attack was well known
to every officer of the fleet. Some will not fail to attribute
rashness to the conduct of Lord Nelson. But he well considered the
importance of a decisive naval victory at this time, and has
frequently said since we left England that, should he be so fortunate
as to fall in with the enemy, a total defeat should be the result on
the one side or the other.'

Next we have what is probably the most acute and illuminating
criticism of the battle that exists, from the pen of 'an officer who
was present.' Sir Charles Ekin quotes it anonymously; but from
internal evidence there is little difficulty in assigning it to an
officer of the Conqueror, though clearly not her captain, Israel
Pellew, in whose justification the concluding part was written.
Whoever he was the writer thoroughly appreciated and understood the
tactical basis of Nelson's plan, as laid down in the memorandum, and
he frankly condemns his chief for having exposed his fleet
unnecessarily by permitting himself to be hurried out of delivering
his attack in line abreast as he intended. It might well have been
done, so far as he could see, without any more loss of time than
actually occurred in getting the bulk of the fleet into action. Loss
of time was the only excuse for attacking in line ahead, and the only
reason he could suppose for the change of plan. If they had all gone
down together in line abreast, he is sure the victory would have been
more quickly decided and the brunt of the fight more equally
borne. Nothing, he thinks, could have been better than the plan of the
memorandum if it had only been properly executed. An attack in two
great divisions with a squadron of observation--so he summarises the
'Nelson touch'--seemed to him to combine every precaution under all
circumstances. It allows of concentration and containing. Each ship
can use her full speed without fear of being isolated. The fastest
ships will break through the line first, and they are just those which
from their speed in passing are liable to the least damage, while
having passed through, they cause a diversion for the attack of their
slower comrades. Finally, if the enemy tries to make off and avoid
action, the fleet is well collected for a general chase. But as Nelson
actually made the attack in his hurry to close, he threw away most of
these advantages, and against an enemy of equal spirit each ship must
have been crushed as she came into action. Instead of doubling
ourselves, he says, we were doubled and even trebled on. Nelson in
fact presented the enemy's fleet with precisely the position which the
memorandum aimed at securing for ourselves--that is to say, he
suffered a portion of his fleet, comprising the Victory,
Temeraire, Royal Sovereign, Belleisle, Mars, Colossus, and
Bellerophon, to be cut off and doubled on.[22]

The last important witness is Captain Codrington, of the Orion. No one
seems to have kept his head so well in the action, and this fact,
coupled with the high reputation he subsequently acquired, gives
peculiar weight to his testimony. It is on the question of the
advanced or reserve squadron that he is specially interesting. On
October 19 at 8 P.M., just after they had been surprised and rejoiced
by Nelson's signal for a general chase, and were steering for the
enemy, as he says, 'under every stitch of sail we can set,' he sat
down to write to his wife. In the course of the letter he tells her,
'Defence and Agamemnon are upon the look out nearest to
Cadiz; ... Colossus and Mars are stationed next. The above four and as
many more of us are now to form an advanced squadron; and I trust by
the morning we shall all be united and in sight of the enemy.'
Clearly then Nelson must have issued some modification of the dual
'order of battle and sailing.' Many years later in a note upon the
battle which Codrington dictated to his daughter, Lady Bourchier, he
says that on the 20th, in spite of Collingwood's advice to attack at
once, Nelson 'continued waiting upon them in two columns according to
the order of sailing and the memorable written instruction which was
given out to all the captains.'[23] Later still, when a veteran of
seventy-six years, he gave to Sir Harris Nicolas another note which
shows how in his own mind he reconciled the apparent discrepancy
between the dual and the triple organisation. It runs as follows: 'In
Lord Nelson's memorandum of October 9, 1805, he refers to "an advanced
squadron of eight of the fastest sailing two-decked ships" to be added
to either of the two lines of the order of sailing as may be required;
and says that this advanced squadron would probably have to cut
through "two, three or four ships of the enemy's centre so as to
ensure getting at their commander-in-chief, on whom every effort must
be made to capture";[24] and he afterwards twice speaks of the
enemy's van coming to succour their rear. Now I am under the
impression that I was expressly instructed by Lord Nelson (referring
to the probability of the enemy's van coming down upon us), being in
the Orion, one of the eight ships named, that he himself would
probably make a feint of attacking their van in order to prevent or
retard it.' Here then would seem to be still further confusion, due
to a failure to distinguish between the leeward and windward form of
attack. According to this statement Codrington believed the advanced
squadron was in either case to attack the centre, while Nelson with
his division contained the van. But curiously enough in a similar
note, printed by Lady Bourchier on Nicolas's authority, there is a
difference in the wording which, though difficult to account for,
seems to give the truer version of what Codrington really said. It is
there stated that Codrington told Nicolas he was strongly impressed
with the belief 'that Lord Nelson directed eight of the smaller and
handier ships, of which the Orion was one, to be ready to haul out of
the line in case the enemy's van should appear to go down to the
assistance of the ships engaged to meet and resist them: that to
prevent this manoeuvre on the part of the enemy Lord Nelson intimated
his intention of making a feint of hauling out towards their van,'
&c. There is little doubt that we have here the true distribution of
duties which Nelson intended for the windward attack--that is, the
advanced squadron was to be the real containing force, but he intended
to assist it by himself making a feint on the enemy's van before
delivering his true attack on the centre.[25]

From Codrington's evidence it is at any rate clear that some time
before the 19th Nelson had told off an 'advanced squadron' as provided
for in his memorandum, and that the ships that were forming the
connection between the fleet and the frigates before Cadiz formed part
of it. Now Nelson had begun to tell off these ships as early as the
4th. On that day he wrote to Captain Duff, of the Mars, 'I have to
desire you will keep with the Mars, Defence and Colossus from three to
four leagues between the fleet and Cadiz in order that I may get
information from the frigates stationed off that port as expeditiously
as possible.' On the 11th, writing to Sir Alexander Ball at Malta, he
speaks of having 'an advanced squadron of fast sailing ships between
me and the frigates.' The Agamemnon (64) was added on the 14th, the
day after she joined. On that day Nelson entered in his private diary,
'Placed Defence and Agamemnon from seven to ten leagues west of Cadiz,
and Mars and Colossus four leagues east of the fleet,' &c,[26] On the
15th he wrote to Captain Hope, of the Defence: 'You will with the
Agamemnon take station west from Cadiz from seven to ten leagues, by
which means if the enemy should move I hope to have constant
information, as two or three ships will be kept as at present between
the fleet and your two ships.'[27]

On the 12th he writes to Collingwood, of the Belleisle, the fastest
two-decker in the fleet, as though she too were an advanced ship, and
on the morning of the 19th he tells him the Leviathan was to relieve
the Defence, whose water had got low. Later in the day, when Mars and
Colossus had passed on the signal that the enemy was out, he ordered
'Mars, Orion, Belleisle, Leviathan, Bellerophon and Polyphemus to go
ahead during the night.'[28] On the eve of the battle therefore these
six ships, with Colossus and Agamemnon, made up the squadron of eight
specified on the memorandum.

The conclusion then is that, though some of the ships destined to form
the advanced squadron had not arrived by the 9th when the memorandum
was issued, Nelson had already taken steps to organise it, and that on
the evening of the 19th, the first moment he had active contact with
the enemy, it was detached from the fleet as a separate unit. Up to
this moment it would look as though he had intended to use it as his
memorandum directed. Since with the exception of the Agamemnon and
the Leviathan, which had only temporarily replaced the Defence while
she watered, the whole of the ships named belonged to Collingwood's
division, the resulting organisation would have been, lee-line nine
ships, weather-line eight ships, and eight for the advanced
squadron--an organisation which in relative proportion was almost
exactly that which he had explained to Keats. It would therefore still
have rendered Nelson's original plan of attack possible, although it
did not preserve the balance of the divisions prescribed in the
memorandum.

There can be little doubt, however, that Nelson on the morning of the
battle did abandon the idea of the advanced squadron altogether. Early
on the 20th it was broken up again. At 8 o'clock in the morning of
that day the captains of the Mars, Colossus and Defence (which
apparently was by this time ready again for service) were called on
board the Victory and ordered out to form a chain as before between
the admiral and his frigates.[29] The rest presumably resumed their
stations in the fleet. Even if he had not actually abandoned this part
of his plan, it is clear that in his hurry to attack Nelson would not
spend time in reforming the squadron as a separate unit, but chose
rather to carry out his design, so far as was possible, with two
divisions only. So soon as he sighted the enemy's fleet at daylight on
the 21st, he made the signal to form the line of battle in two
columns, and with one exception the whole of the advanced ships took
station in their respective divisions according to the original order
of battle and sailing.'[30] The exception was Codrington's ship, the
Orion. No importance however need be attached to this, for although he
was originally in Collingwood's division he may well have been
transferred to Nelson's some time before. It is only worthy of remark
because Codrington, of all the advanced squadron captains, was the
only one, so far as we know, who still considered the squadron a
potential factor in the fleet and acted accordingly. While Belleisle,
Mars, Bellerophon and Colossus rushed into the fight in the van of
Collingwood's line, Orion in the rear of Nelson's held her fire even
when she got into action, and cruised about the _melee_, carefully
seeking points where she could do most damage to an enemy, or best
help an overmatched friend--well-judged piece of service, on which he
dwells in his correspondence over and over again with pardonable
complacency. He was thus able undoubtedly to do admirable service in
the crisis of the action.

That the bulk of his colleagues thought all idea of a reserve squadron
had been abandoned by Nelson is clear, and the resulting change was
certainly great enough to explain why some of the captains thought the
plan of the memorandum had been abandoned altogether. For not only was
the attack made in two divisions instead of one, and in line ahead
instead of line abreast, but its prescribed balance was entirely
upset. Instead of Nelson having the larger portion of the fleet for
containing the van and centre, Collingwood had the larger portion for
the attack on the rear. In other words, instead of the advanced
squadron being under Nelson's direction, the bulk of it was attached
to Collingwood. If some heads--even as clear as Codrington's--were
puzzled, it is little wonder.

As to the way in which this impulsive change of plan was brought
about, Codrington says, 'They [the enemy] suddenly wore round so as to
have Cadiz under their lee, with every appearance of a determination
to go into that port. Lord Nelson therefore took advantage of their
confusion in wearing, and bore down to attack them with the fleet in
two columns.' This was in the note dictated to Lady Bourchier, and in
a letter of October 28, 1805, to Lord Garlies he says, 'We all
scrambled into battle as soon as we could.'[31]

Codrington's allusion to Nelson's alleged feint on the enemy's van
brings us to the last point; the question, that is, as to whether,
apart from the substitution of the perpendicular for the parallel
attack, and in spite of the change of balance, the two lines were
actually handled in the action according to the principles of the
memorandum for the intended attack from to-windward.

Lady Bourchier's note continues, after referring to Nelson's intention
to make a feint on the van, 'The Victory did accordingly haul to port:
and though she took in her larboard and weather studding sails, she
kept her starboard studding sails set (notwithstanding they had become
the lee ones and were shaking), thus proving that he proposed to
resume his course, as those sails would be immediately wanted to get
the Victory into her former station.' The note in Nicolas is to the
same effect, but adds that Codrington had no doubt that having taken
in his weather studding sails he kept the lee ones 'set and shaking in
order to make it clear to the fleet that his movement was merely a
feint, and that the Victory would speedily resume her course and
fulfil his intention of cutting through the centre.' And in admiration
of the movement Codrington called his first lieutenant and said, 'How
beautifully the admiral is carrying his design into effect!' Though
all this was written long after, when his memory perhaps was fading,
it is confirmed by a contemporary entry in his log: 'The Victory,
after making a feint as of attacking the enemy's van, hauled to
starboard so as to reach their centre.'[32] This is all clear enough
so far, but now we have to face a signal mentioned in the log of the
Euryalus which, as she was Nelson's repeating frigate, cannot be
ignored. According to this high authority Nelson, about a quarter of
an hour before making his immortal signal, telegraphed 'I intend to
push or go through the end of the enemy's line to prevent them from
getting into Cadiz.' It is doubtful how far this signal was taken in,
but those who saw it must have thought that Nelson meant to execute
Howe's manoeuvre upon the enemy's leading ships. At this time,
according to the master of the Victory, he was standing for the
enemy's van. Nelson also signalled to certain ships to keep away a
point to port. The Victory's log has this entry: 'At 4 minutes past 12
opened our fire on the enemy's van, in passing down their line.' At 30
minutes past 12 the Victory got up with Villeneuve's flagship and then
broke through the line. Now at first sight it might appear that Nelson
really intended to attack the van and not the centre, on the principle
of Hoste's old manoeuvre which Howe had reintroduced into the Signal
Book for attacking a numerically superior fleet--that is, van to van
and rear to rear, leaving the enemy's centre unoccupied.[33] For the
old signal provided that when this was done 'the flag officers are, if
circumstances permit, to engage the flag officers of the enemy,' which
was exactly what Nelson was doing. On this supposition his idea would
be that his ships should attack the enemy ahead of Villeneuve as they
came up. And this his second, the Temeraire, actually did.
But, as we have seen by Instruction XXIV. of 1799, the old rule of
1790 had been altered, and if Nelson intended to execute Hoste's plan
of attack he, as 'leading ship,' would or should have engaged the
enemy's 'leading ship,' leaving the rest as they could to engage the
enemy of 'greatest force.' The only explanation is that, if he really
intended to attack the van, he again changed his mind when he fetched
up with Villeneuve, and could not resist engaging him. More probably,
however, the signal was wrongly repeated by the Euryalus, and as made
by Nelson it was really an intimation to Collingwood that he meant to
cover the attack on the rear and centre by a feint on the van.[34]

However this may be, the French appear to have regarded Nelson's
movement to port as a real attack. Their best account (which is also
perhaps the best account that exists) says that just before coming
into gun-shot the two British columns began to separate. The leading
vessels of Nelson's column, it says, passed through the same interval
astern of the Bucentaure, and then it tells how 'les vaisseaux de
queue de cette colonne, au contraire, serrerent un peu le vent,
comme pour s'approcher des vaisseaux de l'avant-garde de la flotte
combinee: mais apres avoir recu quelques bordees de ces
vaisseaux ils abandonnerent ce dessein et se porterent vers les
vaisseaux places entre le Redoutable et la Santa Anna ou vinrent
unir leurs efforts a ceux des vaisseaux anglais qui combattaient
deja le Bucentaure et la Santisima Trinidad.'[35] This is to
some extent confirmed by Dumanoir himself, who commanded the allied
van, in his official memorandum addressed to Decres, December 30,
1809. In defending his failure to tack sooner to Villeneuve's relief,
he says, 'Au commencement du combat, la colonne du Nord [_i.e._
Nelson's] se dirigea sur l'avant-garde qui engagea avec elle pendant
quarante minutes.'[36] In partial corroboration of this there is the
statement in the log of the Temeraire, the ship that was
immediately behind Nelson, that she opened her fire on the
Santisima Trinidad and the two ships ahead of her; that is, she
engaged the ships ahead of where Nelson broke the line, so that
Captain Harvey as well as Dumanoir may have believed that Nelson
intended his real attack to be on 'the end of the line.'

In the face of these facts it is impossible to say categorically that
Nelson intended nothing but a feint on the van. It is equally
impossible to say he intended a real attack. The point perhaps can
never be decided with absolute certainty, but it is this very
uncertainty that brings out the true merit and the real lesson of
Nelson's attack. As we now may gather from his captains' opinions, its
true merit was not that he threw his whole fleet on part of a superior
enemy--that was a commonplace in tactics. It was not concentration on
the rear, for that also was old; and what is more, as the attack was
delivered, so far from Nelson concentrating, he boldly, almost
recklessly, exposed himself for a strategical object to what should
have been an overwhelming concentration on the leading ships of his
two columns. The true merit of it above all previous methods of
concentration and containing was that, whether, as planned or as
delivered, it prevented the enemy from knowing on which part of their
line Nelson intended to throw his squadron, just as we are prevented
from knowing to this day. 'They won't know what I am about' were his
words to Keats.

The point is clearer still when we compare the different ways in which
Nelson and Collingwood brought their respective columns into
action. Collingwood in his Journal says that shortly before 11
o'clock, that is, an hour before getting into action, he signalled
'for the lee division to form the larboard line of bearing.' The
effect and intention of this would be that each ship in his division
would head on the shortest course to break the enemy's line in all
parts. It was the necessary signal for enabling him to carry out
regularly Howe's manoeuvre upon the enemy's rear, and his object was
declared for all to see.[37] Nelson, on the other hand, made no such
signal, but held on in line ahead, giving no indication of whether he
intended to perform the manoeuvre on the van or the centre, or whether
he meant to cut the line in line ahead. Until they knew which it was
to be, it was impossible for the enemy to take any step to concentrate
with either division, and thus Nelson held them both immobile while
Collingwood flung himself on his declared objective.

Nothing could be finer as a piece of subtle tactics. Nothing could be
more daring as a well-judged risk. The risk was indeed enormous,
perhaps the greatest ever taken at sea. Hawke risked much at Quiberon,
and much was risked at the Nile. But both were sea-risks of the class
to which our seamen were enured. At Trafalgar it was a pure
battle-risk--a mad, perpendicular attack in which every recognised
tactical card was in the enemy's hand. But Nelson's judgment was
right. He knew his opponent's lack of decision, he knew the individual
shortcomings of the allied ships, and he knew he had only to throw
dust, as he did, in their eyes for the wild scheme to succeed. As
Jurien de la Graviere has most wisely said 'Le genie de Nelson
c'est d'avoir compris notre faiblesse.'

Yet when all is said, when even full weight is given to the
strategical pressure of the hour and the uncertainty of the weather,
there still remains the unanswerable criticism of the officer of the
Conqueror: that by an error of judgment Nelson spoilt his attack by
unnecessary haste. The moral advantage of pushing home a bold attack
before an enemy is formed is of course very great; but in this case
the enemy had no intention of avoiding him, as they showed, and he
acknowledged, when they boldly lay-to to accept action. The confusion
of their line was tactically no weakness: it only resulted in a
duplication which was so nicely adapted for meeting Howe's manoeuvre
that there was a widespread belief in the British fleet, which
Collingwood himself shared, that Villeneuve had adopted it
deliberately.[38] Seeing what the enemy's accidental formation was,
every ship that pierced it must be almost inevitably doubled or
trebled on. It was, we know, the old Dutch manner of meeting the
English method of attack in the earliest days of the line.[39] Had he
given Villeneuve time for forming his line properly the enemy's battle
order would have been only the weaker. Had he taken time to form his
own order the mass of the attack would have been delivered little
later than it was, its impact would have been intensified, and the
victory might well have been even more decisive than it was, while the
sacrifice it cost would certainly have been less, incalculably less,
if we think that the sacrifice included Nelson himself.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Nelson's Letters and Despatches_, p. 382.

[2] Nicolas, _Nelson's Despatches_, v. 287, note. It is also given in
vol. vii. p. ccxvi, apparently from a captain's copy which is undated.

[3] _Ibid._ v. 283.

[4] Professor Laughton pointed out (_op. cit._) that the conditions
will fit June to August 1804, but that it might have been 'earlier,
certainly not later.'

[5] It is very doubtful whether this formation was ever intended for
anything but tactical exercises. Morogues has a similar signal and
instruction (_Tactique Navale_, p. 294, ed. 1779), 'Partager l'armee en
deux corps, ou mettre l'armee sur deux colonnes; et representation d'un
combat.' Anson certainly used it for manoeuvring one half of his fleet
against the other during his tactical exercises in 1747. Warren to
Anson, _Add. MSS._ 15957, p. 172.

[6] Mathieu-Dumas, _Precis des Evenements Militaires_, xiii. 193.

[7] Captain Boswall, in the preface to his translation of Hoste, says
Grenier's work was translated in 1790. If this was so Nelson may well
have read it, but I have not been able to find a copy of the translation
either in the British Museum or elsewhere.

[8] Ross, _Memoir of Saumarez_, i. 212.

[9] Laughton, _Nelson's Letters and Despatches_, 150.

[10] No. 182 as it stood in the signal book meant, Ships before in tow
to proceed to port. No. 183. When at anchor to veer to twice the length
of cable. No. 16. Secret instructions to be opened.

[11] It was in the handwriting, Nicolas says, of Edward Hawke Locker,
Esq., the naval biographer and originator of the naval picture gallery
at Greenwich. He endorsed it, 'Copy of a paper communicated to me by Sir
Richard Keats, and allowed by him to be transcribed by me, 1st October,
1829.'

[12] It was certainly not Keats himself, though afterwards Nelson meant
to offer him command of the squadron he intended to detach into the
Mediterranean. In the expected battle Keats, had he arrived in time, was
to have been Nelson's 'second' in the line. _Nelson to Sir Alexander
Ball_, October 15, 1805.

[13] _Nelson's Despatches_, vii. 241, note.

[14] Nelson's 'advance squadron' must not be confused with the idea of
a reserve squadron which Gravina pressed on Villeneuve at the famous
Cadiz council of war before Trafalgar. Gravina's idea was nothing but
the old one of a reserve of superfluous ships after equalising the line,
as provided by the old English Fighting Instructions and recommended by
Morogues.

[15] Sidney, _Life of Lord Hill_, p. 368.

[16] Clarke and McArthur say the letter was to Lady Hamilton. Nicolas,
reprinting from the _Naval Chronicle_, has the addressee's name blank.

[17] Nelson to Captain Duff, October 4. The order to take her under his
command was despatched on September 20. Same to Marsden, October 10.

[18] Same to Lord Barham, September 30.

[19] See the note on Trafalgar dictated by him in _Memoirs of Sir
Edward Codrington_, edited by Lady Bourchier, 1873.

[20] _On the Principles of Naval Tactics_, 1846.

[21] _Great Sea Fights_, ii. 196, note.

[22] See _post_, p. 357 Appendix, where this interesting paper is set
out in full.

[23] _Life of Codrington_, ii. 57-8.

[24] It should be noted that the memorandum only enjoins this for an
attack from to-leeward, and not for the 'intended attack' from
to-windward.

[25] See _Nelson's Despatches_, vii. 154; _Life of Codrington_, ii. 77.

[26] Nicolas, vii. 122. Before this Mars and Colossus had had the
inside station. See Nelson to Collingwood, October 12.

[27] _Ibid._, vii. 122.

[28] Nicolas, vii. 115, 129, 133.

[29] Memorandum and Private Diary, Nicolas, pp. 136-7.

[30] Some doubt has been expressed as to the signals with which Nelson
opened at daybreak on the 21st. But their actual numbers are recorded in
the logs of the Mars, Defiance, Conqueror and Bellerophon, and all but
the first in the log of the Euryalus repeating frigate. They were No.
72: 'To form order of sailing in two columns or divisions of the fleet,'
which, by the memorandum was also to be the order of battle; No. 76,
with compass signal ENE, 'when lying by or sailing by the wind to bear
up and sail large on the course pointed out'; No. 13, Prepare for
battle. Collingwood has in his journal: 'At 6.30 the commander-in-chief
made the signal to form order of sailing in two columns, and at 7.0 to
prepare for battle. At 7.40 to bear up east.'

[31] _Life of Codrington_, ii. 59, 60.

[32] _Great Sea Fights_, ii. 278.

[33] A veteran French officer of the old wars took this view of
Nelson's threat in a study of the battle which he wrote. 'Nelson,' he
says, 'a d'abord feint de vouloir attaquer la tete et la queue de
l'armee. Ensuite il a rassemble ses forces sur son centre, et a
abandonne le sort de la bataille a l'intelligence de ses capitaines.'
Mathieu-Dumas, _Precis des Evenements Militaires_, xiv. 408.

[34] The only trace of notice having been taken by anyone of a signal
from Nelson at the time stated was Collingwood's impatient remark when
Nelson began to telegraph 'England expects,' &c. 'I wish Nelson would
stop signalling,' he is reported to have said. 'We all know well enough
what we have to do,' as though Nelson had been signalling something just
before.

[35] _Monuments des Victoires et Conguetes des Francais_ from Nicolas,
vii. 271. It was also adopted by Mathieu-Dumas (_op. cit._ xiii. p. 178)
as the best and most impartial account. He says it was written by a
French naval officer called Parisot.

[36] Jurien de la Graviere, _Guerres Maritimes_, ii. 220, note.

[37] This highly important signal appears to have been generally
overlooked in accounts of the action. Yet Collingwood's journal is so
precise about signals that there can be no doubt he made it. Agamemnon
in Nelson's column answered it under the impression it was general. Her
log says, 'Answered signal No. 50'--that is, 'To keep on the larboard
line of bearing though then on the starboard tack. Ditto starboard
bearing if on larboard tack.' Captain Moorsom also says, 'My station was
sixth ship in the rear of the lee column; but as the Revenge sailed well
Admiral Collingwood made my signal to keep a line of bearing from him
which made me one of the leading ships through the enemy's line.' No
other ship records the signal. Probably few saw it, for in the
memorandum which Collingwood issued two years later he lays stress on
the importance of captains being particularly watchful for the signals
of their divisional commander. See _post_, pp. 324 and 329.

[38] Collingwood to Marsden, October 22. same to Parker, November 1.
Same to Pasley, December 16, 1805.

[39] See _supra_, p. 119. Villeneuve saw this. In his official despatch
from the Euryalus, November 5, he says 'Notre formation s'effectuait
avec beaucoup de peine; mais dans le genre d'attaque que je prevoyais
que l'ennemi allait nous faire, cette irregularite meme dans notre ligne
ne me paraissait pas un inconvenient.'--Jurien de la Graviere, _Guerres
Maritimes_, ii. 384.



_LORD NELSON_, 1803.

[+Clarke and McArthur, Life of Nelson, ii. 427+.[1]]

_Plan of Attack_.


The business of a commander-in-chief being first to bring an enemy's
fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself (I mean that
of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as
possible, and secondly, to continue them there without separating
until the business is decided), I am sensible beyond this object it is
not necessary that I should say a word, being fully assured that the
admirals and captains of the fleet I have the honour to command will,
knowing my precise object, that of a close and decisive battle, supply
any deficiency in my not making signals, which may, if extended beyond
those objects, either be misunderstood, or if waited for very probably
from various causes be impossible for the commander-in-chief to
make. Therefore it will only be requisite for me to state in as few
words as possible the various modes in which it may be necessary for
me to obtain my object; on which depends not only the honour and glory
of our country, but possibly its safety, and with it that of all
Europe, from French tyranny and oppression.

If the two fleets are both willing to fight, but little manoeuvring is
necessary, the less the better. A day is soon lost in that
business. Therefore I will only suppose that the enemy's fleet being
to leeward standing close upon a wind, and that I am nearly ahead of
them standing on the larboard tack. Of course I should, weather
them. The weather must be supposed to be moderate; for if it be a gale
of wind the manoeuvring of both fleets is but of little avail, and
probably no decisive action would take place with the whole
fleet.[2]

Two modes present themselves: one to stand on just out of gun-shot,
until the van ship of my line would be about the centre ship of the
enemy; then make the signal to wear together; then bear up [and]
engage with all our force the six or five van ships of the enemy,
passing, certainly if opportunity offered, through their line. This
would prevent their bearing up, and the action, from the known bravery
and conduct of the admirals and captains, would certainly be
decisive. The second or third rear ships of the enemy would act as
they please, and our ships would give a good account of them, should
they persist in mixing with our ships.

The other mode would be to stand under an easy but commanding sail
directly for their headmost ship, so as to prevent the enemy from
knowing whether I should pass to leeward or to windward of him. In
that situation I would make the signal to engage the enemy to leeward,
and cut through their fleet about the sixth ship from the van, passing
very close. They being on a wind and you going large could cut their
line when you please. The van ships of the enemy would, by the time
our rear came abreast of the van ship, be severely cut up, and our van
could not expect to escape damage. I would then have our _rear_
ship and every ship in succession wear [and] continue the action with
either the van ship or the second as it might appear most eligible
from her crippled state; and this mode pursued I see nothing to
prevent the capture of the five or six ships of the enemy's van. The
two or three ships of the enemy's rear must either bear up or wear;
and in either case, although they would be in a better plight probably
than our two van ships (now the rear), yet they would be separated and
at a distance to leeward, so as to give our ships time to refit. And
by that time I believe the battle would, from the judgment of the
admiral and captains, be over with the rest of them. Signals from
these moments are useless when every man is disposed to do his
duty. The great object is for us to support each other, and to keep
close to the enemy and to leeward of him.

If the enemy are running away, then the only signals necessary will be
to engage the enemy on arriving up with them; and the other ships to
pass on for the second, third, &c., giving if possible a close fire
into the enemy on passing, taking care to give our ships engaged
notice of your intention.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] From the original in the St. Vincent Papers. Also in Nicolas,
_Despatches and Letters_, vi. 443. Obvious mistakes in punctuation have
been corrected in the text.

[2] _Cf._ the similar remark of De Chaves, _supra_, p. 5.



_LORD NELSON_, 1805.

[+Nicolas, Despatches and Letters, vii.+[1]]

_Memorandum_.

_Secret_.                    Victory, off Cadiz, 9th October, 1805.


Thinking it almost impossible to bring a fleet of forty sail of the
line into line of battle in variable winds, thick weather, and other
circumstances which must occur, without such a loss of time that the
opportunity would probably be lost of bringing the enemy to battle in
such a manner as to make the business decisive; I have therefore made
up my mind to keep the fleet in that position of sailing (with the
exception of the first and second in command), that the order of
sailing is to be the order of battle; placing the fleet in two lines
of sixteen ships each, with an advance squadron of eight of the
fastest sailing two-decked ships, _which_ will always make, if
wanted, a line of twenty-four sail on whichever line the
commander-in-chief may direct.

The second in command will,[2] after _my_ intentions are made
known to him, have the entire direction of his line; to make the
attack upon the enemy, and to follow up the blow until they are
captured or destroyed.

If the enemy's fleet should be seen to windward in line of battle, and
that the two lines and the advanced squadron can fetch them,[3] they
will probably be so extended that their van could not succour their
rear.

I should therefore probably make the second in command's[4] signal,
to lead through about the twelfth ship from the rear (or wherever
he[5] could fetch, if not able to get as far advanced). My line
would lead through about their centre; and the advanced squadron to
cut two, three, or four ships ahead of their centre, so far as to
ensure getting at their commander-in-chief on whom every effort must
be made to capture.

The whole impression of the British fleet must be to overpower from
two to three ships ahead of their commander-in-chief, supposed to be
in the centre, to the rear of their fleet. I will suppose twenty sail
of the enemy's line to be untouched; it must be some time before they
could perform a manoeuvre to bring their force compact to attack any
part of the British fleet engaged, or to succour their own ships;
which indeed would be impossible, without mixing with the ships
engaged.[6]

Something must be left to chance; nothing is sure in a sea fight
beyond all others. Shots will carry away the masts[7] and yards of
friends as well as foes; but I look with confidence to a victory
before the van of the enemy could succour their rear;[8] and then
the British fleet would most of them be ready to receive their twenty
sail of the line, or to pursue them, should they endeavour to make
off.

If the van of the enemy tacks, the captured ships must run to leeward
of the British fleet; if the enemy wears, the British must place
themselves between the enemy and the captured and disabled British
ships; and should the enemy close, I have no fears as to the result.

The second in command will, in all possible things, direct the
movements of his line, by keeping them as compact as the nature of the
circumstances will admit. Captains are to look to their particular
line as their rallying point. But in case signals can neither be seen
nor perfectly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places
his ship alongside that of an enemy.

Of the intended attack from to-windward, the enemy in the line of
battle ready to attack.

[Illustration][9]

The divisions of the British fleet[10] will be brought nearly within
gunshot of the enemy's centre. The signal will most probably be made
for the lee line to bear up together, to set all their sails, even
steering sails[11] in order to get as quickly as possible to the
enemy's line and to cut through, beginning from the twelfth ship from
the enemy's rear.[12] Some ships may not get through their exact
place; but they will always be at hand to assist their friends; and if
any are thrown round the rear of the enemy, they will effectually
complete the business of twelve sail of the enemy.[13]

Should the enemy wear together, or bear up and sail large, still the
twelve ships, composing in the first position the enemy's rear, are to
be _the_ object of attack of the lee line, unless otherwise
directed by the commander-in-chief; which is scarcely to be expected,
as the entire management of the lee line, after the intention of the
commander-in-chief is signified, is intended to be left to the
judgment of the admiral commanding that line.

The remainder of the enemy's fleet, thirty-four sail, are to be left
to the management of the commander-in-chief, who will endeavour to
take care that the movements of the second in command are as little
interrupted as possible.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Sir Harris Nicolas states that he took his text from an 'Autograph
[he means holograph] draught in the possession of Vice-Admiral Sir
George Mundy, K.C.B., except the words in italics which were added by
Mr. Scott, Lord Nelson's secretary: and from the original issued to
Captain Hope of the Defence, now in possession of his son, Captain Hope,
R.N.'

[2] Lord Nelson originally wrote here but deleted 'in fact command his
line and.'--Nicolas.

[3] Lord Nelson originally wrote here but deleted 'I shall suppose
them forty-six sail in the line of battle.'--Nicolas.

[4] Originally 'your' but deleted.--_Ibid_.

[5] Originally 'you' but deleted.--_Ibid_.

[6] In the upper margin of the paper Lord Nelson wrote and Mr. Scott
added to it a reference, as marked in the text--'the enemy's fleet is
supposed to consist of 46 sail of the line, British fleet 40. If either
be less, only a proportionate number of enemy's ships are to be cut off:
B. to be 1/4 superior to the E. cut off.--_Ibid_.

[7] The Barham copy reads 'a mast.'

[8] Originally 'friends.'--Nicolas.

[9] This is the only diagram found in either of Nelson's memoranda. It
is not in the Barham copy.

[10] Nelson presumably means the two main divisions as distinguished
from the 'advanced squadron.' This distinction is general in the
correspondence of his officers and accords with the arrangement as shown
in the diagram. The Barham copy has 'division' in the singular, as
though Nelson intended to specify one division only. It is probably a
copyist's error.

[11] In the upper margin of the paper, and referred to by Lord Nelson
as in the text 'Vide instructions for signal yellow with blue fly. Page
17, Eighth Flag, Signal Book, with reference to Appendix.'--Nicolas.
Steering-sail, according to Admiral Smyth (_Sailors' Word-Book_, p.
654), was 'an incorrect name for a studding sail,' but it seems to have
been in common use in Nelson's time.

[12] The Barham copy reads 'their rear.'

[13] The Barham copy ends here. The second sheet has not been found.



NELSON AND BRONTE.[1]

INSTRUCTIONS AFTER TRAFALGAR

INTRODUCTORY


The various tactical memoranda issued after Trafalgar by flag officers
in command of fleets are amongst the most interesting of the whole
series. The unsettled state of opinion which they display as the
result of Nelson's memorandum is very remarkable; for with one
exception they seem to show that the great tactical principles it
contained had been generally misunderstood to a surprising extent.
The failure to fathom its meaning is to be accounted for largely by
the lack of theoretical training, which made the science of tactics,
as distinguished from its practice, a sealed book to the majority of
British officers. But the trouble was certainly intensified by the
fact--as contemporary naval literature shows--that by Nelson's success
and death the memorandum became consecrated into a kind of sacred
document, which it was almost sacrilege to discuss. The violent
polemics of such men as James, the naval chronicler, made it appear
profanity so much as to consider whether Nelson's attack differed in
the least from his intended plan, and anyone who ventured to examine
the question in the light of general principles was likely to be
shouted down as a presumptuous heretic. Venial as was this attitude of
adulation under all the circumstances, it had a most evil influence on
the service. The last word seemed to have been said on tactics; and
oblivious of the fact that it is a subject on which the last word can
never be spoken, and that the enemy was certain to learn from Nelson's
practice as well as ourselves, admirals were content to produce a
colourable imitation of his memorandum, and everyone was satisfied not
to look ahead any further. To no one did it occur to consider how the
new method of attack was to be applied if the enemy adopted Nelson's
formation. They simply assumed an endless succession of Trafalgars.

The first outcome of this attitude of mind is an 'Order of Battle and
Sailing,' accompanied by certain instructions, issued by Admiral
Gambier from the Prince of Wales in Yarmouth Roads, on July 23, 1807,
when he was about to sail to seize the Danish fleet.[2] His force
consisted of thirty of the line, and its organisation and stations of
flag officers were as follows:

VAN SQUADRON

  Division 1. Commodore Hood (No. 1 in line).
  Division 2. Vice-Admiral Stanhope (No. 6).

CENTRE DIVISION

  Division 1.} Admiral Gambier (No. 15).
  Division 2.}

REAR SQUADRON

  Division 1. Rear-Admiral Essington (No. 25).
  Division 2. Commodore Keats (No. 30).

Gambier's fleet was thus organised in three equal squadrons (the
centre one called 'the centre division') and six equal subdivisions.
The commander-in-chief was in the centre and had no other flag in his
division, Similarly each junior flag officer was in the centre of his
squadron and led his subdivision, but he had a commodore to lead his
other subdivision. These two commodores also led the fleet on either
tack. So far all is plain, but when we endeavour to understand by the
appended instruction what battle formation Gambier intended by his
elaborate organisation it is very baffling. Possibly we have not got
the instruction exactly as Gambier wrote it; but as it stands it is
confused past all understanding, and no conceivable battle formation
can be constructed from it. All we can say for certain is that he
evidently believed he was adopting the principles of Trafalgar, and
perhaps going beyond them. The sailing order is to be also the battle
order, but whether in two columns or three is not clear. Independent
control of divisions and squadrons is also there, and even the
commodores are to control their own subdivisions 'subject to the
general direction' of their squadronal commanders, but whether the
formation was intended to follow that of Nelson the instruction
entirely fails to disclose.

The next is a tactical memorandum or general order, issued by Lord
Collingwood for the Mediterranean fleet in 1808, printed in
Mr. Newnham Collingwood's _Correspondence of Lord Collingwood_.
No order of battle is given; but two years later, in issuing an
additional instruction, he refers to his general order as still in
force. In this case we have the battle order, and it consists of
twenty of the line in two equal columns, with the commander-in-chief
and his second in command, second in their respective divisions. There
were no other flag officers in the fleet.[3] The memorandum which is
printed below will be seen to be an obvious imitation of Nelson's, and
nothing can impress us more deeply with the merit of Nelson's work
than to compare it with Collingwood's. Like Nelson, Collingwood begins
with introductory remarks emphasising the importance of 'a prompt and
immediate attack' and independent divisional control; and in order to
remedy certain errors of Trafalgar, he insists in addition on close
order being kept throughout the night and the strictest attention
being paid to divisional signals, thinking no doubt how slowly the
rear ships at Trafalgar had struggled into action, and how his signal
for line of bearing had been practically ignored. Then, after stating
broadly that he means with the van or weather division to attack the
van of the enemy, while the lee or larboard division simultaneously
attacks the rear, he differentiates like Nelson between a weather and
a lee attack. For the attack from to-windward he directs the two
divisions to run down in line abreast in such a way that they will
come into action together in a line parallel to the enemy; but,
whatever he intended, nothing is said about concentrating on any part
of the enemy, or about breaking the line in all parts or otherwise.

The attack from to-leeward is to be made perpendicularly in line
ahead. In this formation his own (the weather column) is to break the
line, so as to cut off the van quarter of the enemy's line from the
other three quarters, and the lee column is to sever this part of the
enemy's line a few ships in rear of their centre. So soon as the
leading ships have passed through and so weathered the enemy, they are
to keep away and lead down his line so as to engage the rear three
fourths to windward. This is of course practically identical with the
lee attack of Nelson's memorandum. The only addition is the course
that is to be taken after breaking the line. One cannot help wondering
how far the leading ships after passing the line would have been able
to lead down it before they were disabled, but the addition is
interesting as the first known direction as to what was to be done
after breaking the line in line ahead after Rodney's method. Seeing
the grave and obvious dangers of the movement it is natural that, like
Nelson, Collingwood hoped not to be forced to make it; what he desired
was a simple engagement on similar tacks. His 'intended attack' as in
Nelson's case is clearly that from to-windward.

Turning then again to the windward attack, we see at once its
superficial resemblance to Nelson's, but so entirely superficial is it
that it is impossible to believe Collingwood ever penetrated the
subtleties of his great chiefs design. The dual organisation is there
and the independent divisional control, but nothing else. The advance
squadron has gone, and with it all trace of a containing
movement. There is not even the feint--the mystification of the van.
Concentration too has gone, and instead of the sound main attack on
the rear, he is most concerned with attacking the van. True, he may
have meant what Nelson meant, but if he had really grasped his fine
intention he surely must have let some hint of it escape him in his
memorandum. But for the windward attack at least there is no trace of
these things, and Nelson's masterly conception sinks in Collingwood's
hands into a mere device for expediting the old parallel attack in
single line--that is to say, the line is to be formed in bearing down
instead of waiting to bear down till the line was complete. We can
only conclude, then, that both Collingwood and Gambier could see
nothing in the 'Nelson touch' but the swift attack, the dual
organisation, and independent divisional control.

There is a third document, however, which confirms us in the
impression already formed that there were officers who saw more
deeply. It is a tactical memorandum issued by Admiral the Hon. Sir
Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane, Bart., G.C.B., uncle of the more
famous Earl of Dundonald. It is printed by Sir Charles Ekin, in his
_Naval Battles_, from a paper which he found at the end of a book
in his possession containing 'Additional Signals, Instructions, &c.,'
issued by Sir A.I. Cochrane to the squadron under his command upon the
Leeward Islands station.' He commanded in chief on this station from
1805 to 1814, but appears never to have been directly under Nelson's
influence except for a few weeks, when Nelson came out in pursuit of
Villeneuve and attached him to his squadron. He was rather one of
Rodney's men, under whom he had served in his last campaigns, and this
may explain the special note of his tactical system. His partiality
for Rodney's manoeuvre is obvious, and the interesting feature of his
plan of attack is the manner in which he grafts it on Nelson's system
of mutually supporting squadrons. He does not even shrink from a very
free use of doubling which his old chiefs system entailed, and he
provides a special signal of his own for directing the execution of
the discarded manoeuvre. The 'explanation' of another of his new
signals for running aboard an enemy 'so as to disable her from getting
away' is also worthy of remark, as a recognition of Nelson's favourite
practice disapproved by Collingwood.

Yet, although we see throughout the marks of the true 'Nelson touch,'
Cochrane's memorandum bears signs of having been largely founded on an
independent study of tactical theory. His obligations to Clerk of
Eldin are obvious. There are passages in the document which seem as
though they must have been written with the _Essay on Naval
Tactics_ at his elbow, while his expression 'an attack by forcing
the fleet from to-leeward' is directly borrowed from Morogues' 'Forcer
l'ennemi au combat elant sous le vent.' On the other hand certain
movements are entirely his own, such as his excellent device of
inverting the line after passing through the enemy's fleet, a great
improvement on Collingwood's method of leading down it in normal
order.

The point is of some interest, for although Cochrane's memorandum is
over-elaborate and smells of the lamp, yet it seems clear that his
theoretical knowledge made him understand Nelson's principles far
better than most of the men who had actually fought at Trafalgar and
had had the advantage of Nelson's own explanations. All indeed that
Cochrane's memorandum seems to lack is that rare simplicity and
abstraction which only the highest genius can achieve.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The signature does not occur to the draught but was affixed to the
originals issued to the admirals and captains of the fleet. To the copy
signed by Lord Nelson, and delivered to Captain George Hope, of the
Defence, was added: 'N.B.--When the Defence quits the fleet for England
you are to return this secret memorandum to the Victory' Captain Hope
wrote on that paper: 'It was agreeable to these instructions that Lord
Nelson attacked the combined fleets of France and Spain off Cape
Trafalgar on the 21st of October, 1805, they having thirty-three of the
line and we twenty-seven,'--Nicolas.

The injunction to return the memorandum may well have been added to all
copies issued, and this may account for their general disappearance.

[2] For this document the Society is indebted to Commander G.P.W.
Hope, R.N., who has kindly placed it at my disposal.

[3] For this document the Society is again indebted to Commander Hope,
R.N.



_ADMIRAL GAMBIER_, 1807.

[+MS. of Commander Hope, R.N. Copy+.]

_Order of Battle and Sailing_.[1]


The respective flag officers will have the immediate direction of the
division in which their ships are placed, subject to the general
direction of the admiral commanding the squadron to which they belong.

The ships in order of battle and sailing are to keep at the distance
of two cables' length from and in the wake of each other, increasing
that distance according to the state of the weather.[2]

The leading ship of the starboard division is to keep the admiral two
points on her weather bow. The leading ship of the lee division is
when sailing on a wind to keep the leader of the weather column two
points before her beam; when sailing large, abreast of her.

(Signed) J. GAMBIER.
Prince of Wales, Yarmouth Roads:
23 July, 1807.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] For the actual order to which the instructions are appended see
Introductory Note, _supra_, p. 322.

[2] The normal distance was then a cable and a half. See _post_, p.
330 note.



_LORD COLLINGWOOD_, 1808-10.

[+Correspondence of Collingwood, p. 359+.]

From every account received of the enemy it is expected they may very
soon be met with on their way from Corfu and Tarentum, and success
depends on a prompt and immediate attack upon them. In order to which
it will be necessary that the greatest care be taken to keep the
closest order in the respective columns during the night which the
state of the weather will allow, and that the columns be kept at such
a sufficient distance apart as will leave room for tacking or other
movements, so that in the event of calm or shift of wind no
embarrassment may be caused.

Should the enemy be found formed in order of battle with his whole
force, I shall notwithstanding probably not make the signal to form
the line of battle; but, keeping in the closest order, with the van
squadron attack the van of the enemy, while the commander of the lee
division takes the proper measures, and makes to the ships of his
division the necessary signals for commencing the action with the
enemy's rear, as nearly as possible at the same time that the van
begins. Of his signals therefore the captains of that division will be
particularly watchful.

If the squadron has to run to leeward to close with the enemy, the
signal will be made to alter the course together, the van division
keeping a point or two more away than the lee, the latter carrying
less sail; and when the fleet draws near the enemy both columns are to
preserve a line as nearly parallel to the hostile fleet as they can.

In standing up to the enemy from the leeward upon a contrary tack the
lee line is to press sail, so that the leading ship of that line may
be two or three points before the beam of the leading ship of the
weather line, which will bring them to action nearly at the same
period.

The leading ship of the weather column will endeavour to pass through
the enemy's line, should the weather be such as to make that
practicable, at one fourth from the van, whatever number of ships
their line may be composed of. The lee division will pass through at a
ship or two astern of their centre, and whenever a ship has weathered
the enemy it will be found necessary to shorten sail as much as
possible for her second astern to close with her, and to keep away,
steering in a line parallel to the enemy's and engaging them on their
weather side.

A movement of this kind may be necessary, but, considering the
difficulty of altering the position of the fleet during the time of
combat, every endeavour will be made to commence battle with the enemy
on the same tack they are; and I have only to recommend and direct
that they be fought with at the nearest distance possible, in which
getting on board of them may be avoided, which is alway
disadvantageous to us, except when they are flying.[1]

_Additional Instruction_.[2]

When the signal No. 43 or 44[3] is made to form the order, the fleet
is to form in one line, the rear shortening sail to allow the van to
take their station ahead. If such signal should not be made the
captains are referred to the general order of 23 March, 1808.

COLLINGWOOD.
Ville de Paris, 4th January, 1810.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The remaining clauses of the memorandum do not relate to tactics.

[2] From the original in the possession of Commander Hope, R.N. It is
attached to an order of battle in two columns. See _supra_, p. 323.

[3] Sig. 43: 'Form line of battle in open order.' Sig. 44: 'Form line
of battle in close order at about a cable and a half distant'; with a
white pennant, 'form on weather column'; with a blue pennant, 'form on
lee column.'



_SIR ALEXANDER COCHRANE_, 1805-1814.

[+Printed in Skin's Naval Battles, pp. 394 seq. (First edit.)+]

_Modes of Attack from the Windward, &c._


When an attack is intended to be made upon the enemy's rear, so as to
endeavour to cut off a certain number of ships from that part of their
fleet, the same will be made known by signal No. 27, and the numeral
signal which accompanies it will point out the headmost of the enemy's
ships that is to be attacked, counting always from the van, as stated
in page 160, Article 31 (Instructions).[1] The signal will
afterwards be made for the division intended to make the attack, or
the same will be signified by the ship's pennants, and the pennants of
the ship in that division which is to begin the attack, with the
number of the ship to be first attacked in the enemy's line. Should it
be intended that the leading ship in the division is to attack the
rear ship of the enemy, she must bear up, so as to get upon the
weather quarter of that ship; the ships following her in the line will
pass in succession on her weather quarter, giving their fire to the
ship she is engaged with; and so on in succession until they have
closed with the headmost ship intended to be attacked.

The ships in reserve, who have no opponents, will break through the
enemy's line ahead of this ship, so as to cut off the ships engaged
from the rest of the enemy's fleet.

When it is intended that the rear ship of the division shall attack
the rear ship of the enemy's line, that ship's pennants will be shown;
the rest of the ships in the division will invert their order,
shortening sail until they can in succession follow the rear ship,
giving their fire to the enemy's ships in like manner as above stated;
and the reserve ships will cut through the enemy's line as already
mentioned.

When this mode of attack is intended to be put in force, the other
divisions of the fleet, whether in order of sailing or battle, will
keep to windward just out of gun-shot, so as to be ready to support
the rear, and prevent the van and centre of the enemy from doubling
upon them. This manoeuvre, if properly executed, may force the enemy
to abandon the ships on his rear, or submit to be brought to action on
equal terms, which is difficult to be obtained when the attack is made
from to-windward.

When the fleet is to leeward, and the commanding officer intends to
cut through the enemy's line, the number of the ship in their line
where the attempt is to be made will be shown as already stated.

If the ships after passing the enemy's line are to tack, and double
upon the enemy's ships ahead, the same will be made known by a blue
pennant over the Signal 27; if not they are to bear up and run to the
enemy's line to windward, engaging the ship they first meet with; each
succeeding ship giving her fire, and passing on to the next in the
rear. The ships destined to attack the enemy's rear will be pointed
out by the number of the last ship in the line that is to make this
movement, or the pennants of that ship will be shown; but, should no
signal be made, it is to be understood that the number of ships to
bear up is equal in number to the enemy's ships that have been cut
off; the succeeding ships will attack and pursue the van of the enemy,
or form, should it be necessary to prevent the enemy's van from
passing round the rear of the fleet to relieve or join their cut-off
ships.

If it is intended that the ships following those destined to engage
the enemy's rear to windward shall bear up, and prevent the part of
their rear which has been cut off from escaping to leeward, the same
will be made known by a red pennant being hoisted over the Signal
21,[2] and the number of ships so ordered will be shown by numeral
signals or pennants. If from the centre division, a white pennant will
be hoisted over the signal.

If the rear ships are to perform this service by bearing up, the same
will be made known by a red pennant under. The numeral signal or
pennants, counting always from the van, will show the headmost ship to
proceed on this service.[3] The ships not directed by those signals
are to form in close order, to cover the ships engaged from the rest
of the enemy's fleet.

When the enemy's ships are to be engaged by both van and centre, the
rear will keep their wind, to cover the ships engaged from the enemy
to windward, as circumstances may require.

When the signal shall be made to cut through the enemy's van from
to-leeward, the same will be made known by Signal 27, &c. In this
case, if the headmost ships are to tack and double upon the enemy's
van, engaging their ships in succession as they get up, the blue
pennant will be shown as already stated, and the numeral signal
pointing out the last ship from the van which is to tack, which in
general will be equal in number to the enemy's ships cut through. The
rest of the ships will be prepared to act as the occasion may require,
either by bearing up and attacking the enemy's centre and rear, or
tacking or wearing to cut off the van of the enemy from passing round
the rear of the fleet to rejoin their centre. And on this service, it
is probable, should the enemy's ships bear up, that some of the rear
ships will be employed--the signal No. 21 will be made accompanied
with the number or pennants of the headmost ship--upon which she, with
the ships in her rear, will proceed to the attack of the enemy.

When an attack is likely to be made by an enemy's squadron, by forcing
the fleet from to-leeward, Signal 109 will be made with a blue pennant
where best seen;[4] upon which each ship will luff up upon the
weather quarter of her second ahead, so as to leave no opening for the
leading ship of the enemy to pass through: this movement will expose
them to the collected fire of all that part of the fleet they intended
to force.[5]

It has been often remarked that Nelson founded no school of tactics,
and the instructions which were issued with the new Signal Book
immediately after the war entirely endorse the remark. They can be
called nothing else but reactionary. Nelson's drastic attempt to break
up the old rigid formation into active divisions independently
commanded seems to have come to nothing, and the new instructions are
based with almost all the old pedantry on the single line of
battle. Of anything like mutually supporting movements there is only a
single trace. It is in Article XIV., and that is only a resurrection
of the time-honoured _corps de reserve_, formed of superfluous
ships after your line has been equalised with that of a numerically
inferior enemy. The whole document, in fact, is a consecration of the
fetters which had been forged in the worst days of the seventeenth
century, and which Nelson had so resolutely set himself to break.

The new Signal Book in which the instructions appear was founded on
the code elaborated by Sir Home Riggs Popham, but there is nothing to
show whether or not he was the author of the instructions. He was an
officer of high scientific attainments, but although he had won
considerable distinction during the war, his service had been entirely
of an amphibious character in connection with military operations
ashore, and he had never seen a fleet action at sea. He reached flag
rank in 1814, and was one of the men who received a K.C.B. on the
reconstitution of the order in 1815. Of the naval lords serving with
Lord Melville at the time none can show a career or a reputation which
would lead us to expect from them anything but the colourless
instructions they produced. The controlling influence was undoubtedly
Lord Keith. The doyen of the active list, and in command of the
Channel Fleet till he retired after the peace of 1815, he was
all-powerful as a naval authority, and his flag captain, Sir Graham
Moore, had just been given a seat on the board. A devout pupil of
St. Vincent and Howe, correct rather than brilliant, Keith represented
the old tradition, and notwithstanding the patience with which he had
borne Nelson's vagaries and insubordination, the antipathy between the
two men was never disguised. However generously Keith appreciated
Nelson's genius, he can only have regarded his methods as an evil
influence in the service for ordinary men, nor can there be much doubt
that his apprehensions had a good deal to justify them.

The general failure to grasp the whole of Nelson's tactical principles
was not the only trouble. There are signs that during the later years
of the war a very dangerous misunderstanding of his teaching had been
growing up in the service. In days when there was practically no
higher instruction in the theory of tactics, it was easy for officers
to forget how much prolonged and patient study had enabled Nelson to
handle his fleets with the freedom he did; and the tendency was to
believe that his successes could be indefinitely repeated by mere
daring and vehemence of attack. The seed was sown immediately after
the battle and by Collingwood himself. 'It was a severe action,' he
wrote to Admiral Parker on November 1, 'no dodging or manoeuvring.'
And again on December 16, to Admiral Pasley, 'Lord Nelson determined
to substitute for exact order an impetuous attack in two distinct
bodies.' Collingwood of course with all his limitations knew well
enough it was not a mere absence of manoeuvring that had won the
victory. In the same letter he had said that although Nelson
succeeded, as it were, by enchantment, it was all the effect of system
and nice combination.' Yet such phrases as he and others employed to
describe the headlong attack, taken from their context and repeated
from mouth to mouth, would soon have raised a false impression that
many men were only too ready to receive. So the seed must have grown,
till we find the fruit in Lord Dundonald's oft-quoted phrase, 'Never
mind manoeuvres: always go at them.' So it was that Nelson's teaching
had crystallised in his mind and in the mind perhaps of half the
service. The phrase is obviously a degradation of the opening
enunciations in Nelson's memoranda, a degradation due to time, to
superficial study, and the contemptuous confidence of years of
undisputed mastery at sea.

The conditions which brought about this attitude to tactics are
clearly seen in the way others saw us. Shortly after Trafalgar a
veteran French officer of the war of American Independence wrote some
_Reflections_ on the battle, which contain much to the point. 'It
is a noteworthy thing,' he says in dealing with the defects of the
single-line formation, 'that the English, who formerly used to employ
all the resources of tactics against our fleets, now hardly use them
at all, since our scientific tacticians have disappeared. It may
almost be said that they no longer have any regular order of sailing
or battle: they attack our ships of the line just as they used to
attack a convoy.'[6] But here the old tactician was not holding up
English methods as an example. He was citing them to show to what
easy victories a navy exposed itself in which, by neglect of
scientific study and alert observation, tactics had sunk into a mere
senile formula. 'They know,' he continues, 'that we are in no state to
oppose them with well-combined movements so as to profit by the kind
of disorder which is the natural result of this kind of attack. They
know if they throw their attack on one part of a much extended line,
that part is soon destroyed.' Thus he arrives at two fundamental laws:
'1. That our system of a long line of battle is worthless in face of
an enemy who attacks with his ships formed in groups (_reunis en
pelotons_), and told off to engage a small number of ships at
different points in our line. 2. That the only tactical system to
oppose to theirs is to have at least a double line, with reserve
squadrons on the wings stationed in such a manner as to bear down most
easily upon the points too vigorously attacked.' The whole of his
far-sighted paper is in fact an admirable study of the conditions
under which impetuous attacks and elaborate combinations are
respectively called for. But from both points of view the single line
for a large fleet is emphatically condemned, while in our instructions
of 1816 not a hint of its weakness appears. They resume practically
the same standpoint which the Duke of York had reached a century and a
half before.

Spanish tacticians seem also to have shared the opinion that Trafalgar
had really done nothing to dethrone the line. One of the highest
reputation, on December 17, 1805, had sent to his government a
thoughtful criticism of the action, and his view of Nelson's attack
was this: 'Nothing,' he says, 'is more seamanlike or better tactics
than for a fleet which is well to windward of another to bear down
upon it in separate columns, and deploy at gun-shot from the enemy
into a line which, as it comes into action, will inflict at least as
much damage upon them as it is likely to suffer. But Admiral Nelson
did not deploy his columns at gun-shot from our line, but ran up
within pistol-shot and broke through it, so as to reduce the battle to
a series of single-ship actions. It was a manoeuvre in which I do not
think he will find many imitators. Where two fleets are equally well
trained, that which attacks in this manner must be defeated.'[7]

So it was our enemies rightly read the lesson of Trafalgar. The false
deductions therefore which grew up in our own service are all the more
extraordinary, even as we find them in the new instructions and the
current talk of the quarter-deck. But this is not the worst. It is not
till we turn to the Signal Book itself that we get a full impression
of the extent to which tactical thought had degenerated and Nelson's
seed had been choked. The movements and formations for which signals
are provided are stubbornly on the old lines of 1799. The influence of
Nelson, however, is seen in two places. The first is a group of
signals for 'attacking the enemy at anchor by passing either outside
them or between them and the land,' and for 'anchoring and engaging
either within or outside the enemy.' Here we have a rational
embodiment of the experience of the Nile. The second is a similar
attempt to embody the teaching of Trafalgar, and the way it is done
finally confirms the failure to understand what Nelson meant. So
extraordinary is the signification of the signal and its explanatory
note that it must be given in full.

'_Signal_.--Cut the enemy's line in the order of sailing in two
columns.

_'Explanatory Note_.--The admiral will make known what number of
ships from the van ship of the enemy the weather division is to break
through the enemy's line, and the same from the rear at which the lee
division is to break through their line.

'To execute this signal the fleet is to form in the order of sailing
in two columns, should it not be so formed already; the leader of each
column steering down for the position pointed out where he is to cut
through the enemy's line.

'If the admiral wishes any particular conduct to be pursued by the
leader of the division, in which he happens not to be, after the line
is broken, he will of course point it out. If he does not it is to be
considered that the lee division after breaking through the line is
left to its commander.

'In performing this evolution the second astern of the leader in each
column is to pass through the line astern of the ship next ahead
[_sic_] of where her leader broke through, and so on in succession,
breaking through all parts of the enemy's line ahead [_sic_] of
their leaders as described in the plate.'

The plate represents the two columns bearing down to attack in a
strictly formed line ahead, and the ships, after the leaders have cut
through, altering course each for its proper interval in the enemy's
line, and the whole then engaging from to-leeward. The note proceeds:

'By this arrangement no ship will have to pass the whole of the
enemy's line. If however, in consequence of any circumstance, the rear
ships should not be able to cut through in their assigned places, the
captains of those ships, as well as of the ships that are deprived of
opponents in the enemy's line by this mode of attack, are to act to
the best of their judgment for the destruction of the enemy, unless a
disposition to the contrary has been previously made.

'It will be seen that by breaking the line in this order the enemy's
van ships will not be able to assist either their centre or rear
without tacking or wearing for that purpose.'

This from cover to cover of the Signal Book is the sole trace to be
found of the great principles for which Nelson had lived and
died. That Lord Keith or anyone else could have believed that it
adequately represented the teaching of Trafalgar is almost incredible.

To begin with, the wording of the note contains an inexplicable
blunder. The last paragraph shows clearly that the idea of the signal
is an attack on the rear and centre, as at Trafalgar; yet the ships of
each column as they come successively into action are told to engage
the enemy's ship _ahead_ of the point where their leaders broke
through, a movement which would resolve itself into an attack on their
centre and van, and leave the rear free to come into immediate action
with an overwhelming concentration on the lee division.

That so grave an error should have been permitted to pass into the
Signal Book is bad enough, but that such a signal even if it had been
correctly worded should stand for Nelson's last word to the service is
almost beyond belief. The final outcome of Nelson's genius for tactics
lay of course in his memorandum, and not in the form of attack he
actually adopted. Yet this remarkable signal ignores the whole
principle of the memorandum. The fundamental ideas of concentration
and containing by independent squadrons are wholly missed; and not
only this. It distorts Nelson's lee attack into a weather attack, and
holds up for imitation every vice of the reckless movement in spite of
which Nelson had triumphed. Not a word is said of its dangers, not a
word of the exceptional circumstances that alone could justify it, not
a word of how easily the tables could be turned upon a man who a
second time dared to fling to the winds every principle of his art. It
is the last word of British sailing tactics, and surely nothing in
their whole history, not even in the worst days of the old Fighting
Instructions, so staggers us with its lack of tactical sense.[8]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _I.e._ the Instructions of 1799, _supra_, p. 278. For Signal 27
see p. 255.

[2] 'To attack on bearing indicated.'

[3] In Ekin's text the punctuation of this sentence is obviously wrong
and destroys the sense. It should accord, as I have ventured to amend
it, with that of the previous paragraph.

[4] Signal 109, 'To close nearer the ship or ships indicated.'

[5] Sir Charles Elkin adds, 'In the same work he has also a signal
(No. 785) under the head "Enemy" to "Lay on board," with the following
observation:--

'"N.B.--This signal is not meant that your people should board the enemy
unless you should find advantage by so doing; but it is that you should
run your ship on board the enemy, so as to disable her from getting
away."'

[6] Mathieu-Dumas, _Precis des Evenements Militaires: Pieces
Justificatives_, vol. xiv. p. 408.

[7] Fernandez Duro, _Armada Espanola_, viii. 353.

[8] The anonymous veteran of the old French navy, cited by
Mathieu-Dumas, explains exactly how Villeneuve might have turned the
tables on Nelson by forming two lines himself. 'There is,' he concludes,
'no known precedent of a defensive formation in two lines; but I will
venture to assert that if Admiral Villeneuve had doubled his line at the
moment he saw Nelson meant to attack him in two lines, that admiral
would never have had the imprudence of making such an
attack.'--_Evenements Militaires_, xiv. 411.



_THE INSTRUCTIONS OF_ 1816.

[+Signal Book, United Service Institution+.]

_Instructions relating to the Line of Battle and the Conduct of the
Fleet preparatory to their engaging and when engaged with an
enemy_.


I. The chief purposes for which a fleet is formed in line of battle
are, that the ships may be able, to assist and support each other in
action; that they may not be exposed to the fire of the enemy's ships
greater in number than themselves, and that every ship may be able to
fire on the enemy without risk of firing into the ships of her own
fleet.

II. On whichever tack the fleet may be sailing, when the line of
battle is formed, the van squadron is to form the van, the centre
squadron the centre, and the rear squadron the rear of the line,
unless some other arrangement be pointed out by signal. But if a
change of wind, or tacking, or wearing, or any other circumstance,
should alter the order in which the line of battle was formed, the
squadrons are to remain in the stations in which they may so happen to
be placed, till the admiral shall direct them to take others.

III. When the signal is made for the fleet to form the line of battle,
each flag officer and captain is to get into his station as
expeditiously as possible; and to keep in close order, if not
otherwise directed, and under a proportion of sail suited to that
carried by the admiral, or by the senior flag officer remaining in the
line, when the admiral has signified his intention to quit it.

IV. In forming the line of battle, each ship should haul up a little
to windward rather than to leeward of her second ahead, as a ship a
little to leeward will find great difficulty in getting into her
station, if it should be necessary to keep the line quite close to the
wind; and it may also be better to form at a distance a little
greater, rather than smaller, than the prescribed distance, as it is
easier to close the line than to extend it.

V. If the admiral should haul out of the line, the ships astern of him
are to close up to fill the vacancy he has made, and the line is to
continue on its course, and to act in the same manner as if the
admiral had not left it All signals made to the centre will be
addressed to the senior officer remaining in it, who, during the
absence of the admiral, is to be considered as the commander of the
centre squadron.

VI. The repeating frigates are to be abreast of the commanders of the
squadrons to which they belong, and the fireships and frigates to
windward of their squadrons, if no particular station be assigned to
them.

VII. When the signal to form a line of bearing for either tack is
made, the ships (whatever course they may be directed to steer) are to
place themselves in such a manner that, if they were to haul to the
wind together on the tack for which the line of bearing is formed,
they would immediately form a line of battle on that tack. To do this,
every ship must bring the ship which would be her second ahead, if the
line of battle were formed, to bear on that point of the compass on
which the line of battle would sail, viz. on that point of the compass
which is six points from the direction of the wind.

As the intention of a line of bearing is to keep the fleet ready to
form suddenly a line of battle, the position of the division or
squadron flags, shown with the signals for such a line, will refer to
the forming the line of battle; that division or squadron whose flag
is _uppermost_ (without considering whether it do or do not form
the van of the line of bearing) is to place itself in that station
which would become the van if the fleet should haul to the wind, and
form the line of battle; and the division whose flag is
_undermost_ is to place itself in that station in which it would
become the rear if by hauling to the wind the line of battle should be
formed.

VIII. When a line of bearing has been formed the ships are to preserve
their relative bearing from each other, whenever they are directed to
alter their course together; but if they are directed to alter their
course in succession, as the line of bearing would by that
circumstance be destroyed, it is to be no longer attended to.

IX. If after having made the signal to prepare to form the line of
battle, or either line of bearing, the admiral, keeping the
preparative flag flying, should make several signals in succession to
point out the manner in which the line is to be formed, those signals
are to be carefully written down, that they may be carried into
execution, when the signal for the line is hoisted again. They are to
be executed in the order in which they are made, excepting such as the
admiral may annul previously to his again hoisting the signal for the
line.

X. If the wind should come _forward_ when the fleet is formed in
line of battle, or is sailing by the wind on a line of bearing, the
leading ship is to steer seven points from the wind, and every ship is
to haul as close to the wind as possible till she has got into the
wake of the leading ship, or till she shall have brought it on the
proper point of bearing; but if the wind should come _aft_, the
ships are to bear up until they get into the wake, or on the proper
point of bearing from the leading ship.

XI. Ships which have been detached from the body of the fleet on any
separate service are not to obey the signal for forming the line of
battle unless they have been previously called back to the fleet by
signal.

XII. Ships which cannot keep their stations are to quit the line, as
directed in Article XIX. in the General Instructions, though in the
presence of an enemy. The captains of such ships will not thereby be
prevented from distinguishing themselves, as they will have the
opportunities of rendering essential service by placing their ships
advantageously when they get up with the enemy already engaged with
the other part of the fleet.

XIII. If the ship of any flag officer be disabled in battle, the flag
officer may repair on board, and hoist his flag in any other ship (not
already carrying a flag) that he shall think proper, but he is to
hoist it in one of his own squadron or division, if there be one near
and fit for the purpose.

XIV. If the fleet should engage an enemy inferior to it in number, or
which, by the flight of some of their ships, becomes inferior, the
ships, which at either extremity of the line are thereby left without
opponents, may, after the action is begun, quit the line, without
waiting for a signal to do so; and they are to distress the enemy, or
assist the ships of the fleet in the best manner that circumstances
will allow.

XV. Great care is at all times to be taken not to fire at the enemy
either over or very near to any ships of the fleet, nor, though the
signal for battle should be flying, is any ship to fire till she is
placed in a proper situation, and at a proper distance from the enemy.

XVI. No ship is to separate from the body of the fleet in time of
action to pursue any small number of the enemy's ships which have been
beaten out of the line, unless the commander-in-chief, or some other
flag officer, be among them; but the ships which have disabled their
opponents, or forced them to quit the line, are to assist any ship of
the fleet appearing to be much pressed, and to continue their attack
till the main body of the enemy be broken or disabled, unless by
signal, or particular instruction, they should be directed to act
otherwise.

XVII. If any ship should be so disabled as to be in great danger of
being destroyed or taken by the enemy, and should make a signal
expressive of such extremity, the ships nearest to her, and which are
the least engaged with the enemy, are strictly enjoined to give her
immediately all possible aid and protection; and any fireship, in a
situation which admits of its being done, is to endeavour to burn the
enemy's ship opposed to her; and any frigate that may be near is to
use every possible exertion for her relief, either by towing her off,
or by joining in the attack on the enemy, or by covering the fireship,
or, if necessity requires it, by taking out the crew of the disabled
ship, or by any other means which circumstances at the time will
admit.

XVIII. Though a ship be disabled and hard pressed by the enemy in
battle, she is not to quit her station in the line if it can possibly
be avoided, till the captain shall have obtained permission so to do
from the commander of the division or squadron to which he belongs, or
from some other flag officer. But if he should be ordered out of the
line, or should be obliged to quit it before assistance can be sent to
him, the nearest ships are immediately to occupy the space become
vacant to prevent the enemy from taking advantage of it.

XIX. If there should be a captain so lost to all sense of honour and
the great duty he owes his country as not to exert himself to the
utmost to get into action with the enemy, or to take or destroy them
when engaged, the commander of the squadron or division to which he
belongs, or the nearest flag officer, is to suspend him from the
command, and is to appoint some other officer to command the ship till
the admiral's pleasure shall be known.



APPENDIX

_FURTHER PARTICULARS OF THE TRAFALGAR FIGHT_

[+Sir Charles Ekin's Naval Battles, pp. 271 et seq. Extract+.]


The intelligent officer to whom the writer is indebted for this
important manuscript was an eye-witness of what he has so ably
related, and upon which he has reasoned with so much judgment.[1]

'The combined fleet, after veering from the starboard to the larboard
tack, gradually fell into the form of an irregular crescent; in which
they remained to the moment of attack. Many have considered that the
French admiral intended this formation of the line of battle; but from
the information I obtained after the action, connected with some
documents found on board the Bucentaur, I believe it was the intention
to have formed a line ahead, consisting of twenty-one sail--the
supposed force of the British fleet--and a squadron of observation
composed of twelve sail of the line, under Admiral Gravina, intended
to act according to circumstances after the British fleet were
engaged. By wearing together, the enemy's line became inverted, and
the light squadron which had been advanced in the van on the starboard
tack, was left in the rear after wearing; and the ships were
subsequently mingled with the rear of the main body. The wind being
light, with a heavy swell, and the fleet lying with their main
topsails to the mast, it was impossible for the ships to preserve
their exact station in the line; consequently scarce any ship was
immediately ahead or astern of her second. The fleet had then the
appearance, generally, of having formed in two lines, thus: so that
the ship to leeward seemed to be opposite the space left between two
in the weather-line.

[Illustration]

'In the rear, the line was in some places trebled; and this
particularly happened where the Colossus was, who, after passing the
stern of the French Swiftsure, and luffing up under the lee of the
Bahama, supposing herself to leeward of the enemy's line, unexpectedly
ran alongside of the French Achille under cover of the smoke. The
Colossus was then placed between the Achille and the Bahama, being on
board of the latter; and was also exposed to the fire of the
Swiftsure's after-guns. All these positions I believe to have been
merely accidental; and to accident alone I attribute the concave
circle of the fleet, or crescent line of battle. The wind shifted to
the westward as the morning advanced; and of course the enemy's ships
came up with the wind, forming a bow and quarter line. The ships were
therefore obliged to edge away, to keep in the wake of their leaders;
and this manoeuvre, from the lightness of the wind, the unmanageable
state of the ships in a heavy swell, and, we may add, the inexperience
of the enemy, not being performed with facility and celerity,
undesignedly threw the combined fleets into a position, perhaps the
best that could have been planned, had it been supported by the
skilful manoeuvring of individual ships, and with efficient practice
in gunnery.

'Of the advantages and disadvantages of the mode of attack adopted by
the British fleet, it may be considered presumptuous to speak, as the
event was so completely successful; but as the necessity of any
particular experiment frequently depends upon contingent
circumstances, not originally calculated upon, there can be no
impropriety in questioning whether the same plan be likely to succeed
under all circumstances, and on all occasions.

'The original plan of attack, directed by the comprehensive mind of
our great commander, was suggested on a supposition that the enemy's
fleet consisted of forty-six sail of the line and the British forty;
and the attack, as designed from to-windward, was to be made under the
following circumstances:

'Under a supposition that the hostile fleet would be in a line ahead
of forty-six sail, the British fleet was to be brought within gun-shot
of the enemy's centre, in two divisions of sixteen sail each, and a
division of observation consisting of the remaining eight.

'The lee division was by signal to make a rapid attack under all
possible sail on the twelve rear ships of the enemy. The ships were to
break through the enemy's line; and such ships as were thrown out of
their stations were to assist their friends that were hard
pressed. The remainder of the enemy's fleet, of thirty-four sail, were
to be left to the management of the commander-in-chief.'

This able officer then proceeds to describe, by a figure, the plan of
attack as originally intended; bearing a very close resemblance to
that already given in Plate XXVIII. fig. 1; but making the enemy's
fleet, as arranged in a regular line ahead, to extend the distance of
five miles; and the van, consisting of sixteen ships, left unoccupied;
the whole comprising a fleet of forty-six sail of the line. He then
observes:

'If the regulated plan of attack had been adhered to, the English
fleet should have borne up together, and have sailed in a line abreast
in their respective divisions until they arrived up with the
enemy. Thus the plan which consideration had matured would have been
executed, than which perhaps nothing could be better; the victory
would have been more speedily decided, and the brunt of the action
would have been more equally felt, &c.

'With the exception of the Britannia, Dreadnought, and Prince, the
body of the fleet sailed very equally; and I have no doubt could have
been brought into action simultaneously with their leaders. This
being granted, there was no time gained by attacking in a line ahead,
the only reason, I could suppose, that occasioned the change.

'The advantages of an attack made in two great divisions, with a
squadron of observation, seem to combine every necessary precaution
under all circumstances.

'The power of bringing an overwhelming force against a particular
point of an enemy's fleet, so as to ensure the certain capture of the
ships attacked, and the power of condensing such a force afterwards
[so] as not only to protect the attacking ships from any offensive
attempt that may be made by the unoccupied vessels of the hostile
fleet, but also to secure the prizes already made, will most probably
lead to a victory; and if followed up according to circumstances, may
ultimately tend to the annihilation of the whole, or the greater part
of the mutilated fleet.

'Each ship may use her superiority of sailing, without being so far
removed from the inferior sailing ships as to lose their support.

'The swifter ships, passing rapidly through the enemy's fire, are less
liable to be disabled; and, after closing with their opponents, divert
their attention from the inferior sailers, who are advancing to
complete what their leaders had begun. The weather division, from
being more distant, remain spectators of the first attack for some
little time, according to the rate of the sailing; and may direct
their attack as they observe the failure or success of the first
onset, either to support the lee division, if required, or to extend
the success they may appear to have gained, &c.

'If the enemy bear up to elude the attack, the attacking fleet is well
collected for the commencement of a chase, and for mutual support in
pursuit.

'The mode of attack, adopted with such success in the Trafalgar
action, appears to me to have succeeded from the enthusiasm inspired
throughout the British fleet from their being commanded by their
beloved Nelson; from the gallant conduct of the leaders of the two
divisions; from the individual exertions of each ship after the attack
commenced, and the superior practice of the guns in the English fleet.

'It was successful also from the consternation spread through the
combined fleet on finding the British so much stronger than was
expected; from the astonishing and rapid destruction which followed
the attack of the leaders, witnessed by the whole of the hostile
fleets, inspiring the one and dispiriting the other and from the loss
of the admiral's ship early in the action.

'The disadvantages of this mode of attack appear to consist in
bringing forward the attacking force in a manner so leisurely and
alternately, that an enemy of equal spirit and equal ability in
seamanship and gunnery would have annihilated the ships one after
another in detail, carried slowly on as they were by a heavy swell and
light airs.

'At the distance of one mile five ships, at half a cable's length
apart, might direct their broadsides effectively against the head of
the division for seven minutes, supposing the rate of sailing to have
been four miles an hour; and within the distance of half a mile three
ships would do the same for seven minutes more, before the attacking
ship could fire a gun in her defence.

'It is to be observed that, although the hull of the headmost ship
does certainly in a great measure cover the hulls of those astern, yet
great injury is done to the masts and yards of the whole by the fire
directed against the leader; and that, if these ships are foiled in
their attempt to cut through the enemy's line, or to run on board of
them, they are placed, for the most part, _hors de combat_ for
the rest of the action.

'Or should it fall calm, or the wind materially decrease about the
moment of attack, the van ships must be sacrificed before the rear
could possibly come to their assistance.

'In proceeding to the attack of October 21, the weather was exactly
such as might have caused this dilemma, as the sternmost ships of the
British were six or seven miles distant. By the mode of attacking in
detail, and the manner in which the combined fleet was drawn up to
receive it, instead of doubling on the enemy, the British were, on
that day, themselves doubled and trebled on; and the advantage of
applying an overwhelming force collectively, it would seem, was
totally lost.

'The Victory, Temeraire, Sovereign, Belleisle, Mars, Colossus
and Bellerophon were placed in such situations in the onset, that
nothing but the most heroic gallantry and practical skill at their
guns could have extricated them. If the enemy's vessels had closed up
as they ought to have done, _from van to rear_, and had possessed
a nearer equality in active courage, it is my opinion that even
British skill and British gallantry could not have availed. The
position of the combined fleet at one time was precisely that in which
the British were desirous of being placed; namely, to have part of an
opposing fleet doubled on, and separated from the main body.

'The French admiral, with his fleet, showed the greatest passive
gallantry; and certainly the French Intrepide, with some others,
evinced active courage equal to the British; but there was no nautical
management, no skilful manoeuvring.

'It may appear presumptuous thus to have questioned the propriety of
the Trafalgar attack; but it is only just, to point out the advantages
and disadvantages of every means that may be used for the attainment
of great results, that the probabilities and existing circumstances
may be well weighed before such means are applied. A plan, to be
entirely correct, must be suited to all cases. If its infallibility is
not thus established, there can be no impropriety in pointing out the
errors and dangers to which it is exposed, for the benefit of others.

'Our heroic and lamented chief knew his means, and the power he had to
deal with; he also knew the means he adopted were sufficient for the
occasion; and that sufficed.

'The Trafalgar attack might be followed under different circumstances,
and have a different result: it is right, therefore, to discuss its
merits and demerits. It cannot take one atom from the fame of the
departed hero, whose life was one continued scene of original ability,
and of superior action.'

FOOTNOTE:

[1] The concluding part of the MS. is devoted to a detailed account of
the part played in the action by the Conqueror and her two seconds,
Neptune and Leviathan, with the special purpose of showing that
Villeneuve really struck to the Conqueror. In a note the author says, 'I
have been thus particular, as the capture of the French admiral has been
unblushingly attributed to others without any mention being made of the
ship that actually was the principal in engaging her, wishing to do
justice to a gallant officer who on that day considered his task not
complete until every ship was either captured or beyond distance of
pursuit.' The inference is that the author was an officer of the
Conqueror, defending his captain, Israel Pellew, younger brother of the
more famous Edward, Lord Exmouth. It is possible therefore, and even
probable, that this criticism of Trafalgar represents the ideas of the
Pellews.




INDEX

Additional Instructions, 113, 115, 126-8, 203-229

Admiral, station of, inline, 12, 15, 16, 22, 24, 61, 77, 88, 91, 100,
    123, 127, 166, 243-5, 276, 317.
  _See also_ Flag, and Flagship

Advanced squadron, Nelson's, 294, 300-6, 316-7, 319 _n._, 325

Ammunition, supply of, 69

Anchor, engaging at, 264, 277,

d'Annibault, Admiral, 18

Anson, Lord, 116, 204, 209-10, 216, 218 _n._, 285 _n_.

Argall, Sir Samuel, 49

Armada, 27-9, 32-5, 75, 283, 288

Attack, from to-windward, 31, 33-5, 42, 59, 95, 113, 126, 153, 155-6,
    170-1, 227, 246, 330-3.
  _See also_ Line, breaking the
  Oblique, 143-5
  Parallel, 143, 148, 155-6, 170-1, 186, 191-2, 197, 218 _n_.,
    245, 266, 273, 324-5
  Perpendicular, 265, 307, 324
  On contrary tacks, 245;
    on opposite number, 211-2, 217-8, 227-3, 265, 377;
    in coming up, 277
  By defiling, 42-3, 51, 59, 65
  On superior fleet, 180-2, 236, 262-3, 276, 308, 346

Audley, Sir Thomas, 14-17

Augers, for scuttling, 13

Badiley, Captain Richard, 84

Ball, Admiral Sir Alexander, 303

Banckers, Admiral Adriaen, 156 _n._

Barham, Admiral Lord, 293

Barrington, Admiral the Hon. Samuel, 258

Baskerville, Sir Thomas, his battle order, 29

Battle orders, _see_ Order of Battle

Battles.
  Gravelines (1588), 75, 283, 288
  Isla de Pinos (1596), 29
  Oquendo and Tromp (1639), 85
  Monte Christo (1652), 84
  Dungeness (1652), 93
  Portland (Feb. 1653), 94
  The Gabbard (June 1653), 97
  Lowestoft or Texel, No. 2 (1665), 113-4
  Four Days' Battle (1066), 116-9, 134, 136-7
  St. James's Fight (1666), 122 _n._, 138, 140-1
  Holmes's action (1672), 169
  Solebay (1672), 138-9, 155 _n._, 169
  Schoonveldt (1673) 133, 156
  Texel, No. 3 (1673), 154 _n_., 157 _n_., 162 _n_., 182
  Beachy Head or Bevesier (1690), 177, 181
  La Hogue (1692), 180
  Malaga (1704), 184, 186, 195-6, 198 _n._
  Toulon (1744), 188 _n._, 196, 205, 210
  Finisterre (Anson and De la Jonquiere, 1747), 209
  Finisterre (Hawke and L'Etenduere, 1747), 226 _n._
  Havana (1748), 224 _n._
  Minorca (1756), 218 _n._
  Quiberon (1759), 186, 312
  Granada (1779), 258
  Martinique (1780), 211, 227 _n._
  Chesapeake (1781), 212
  Les Saintes (1782), 211-2, 237
  First of June (1794), 256, 265, 283
  St. Vincent (1797), 254, 265, 267
  Camperdown (1797), 254, 266, 287
  The Nile (1798), 262, 312
  Copenhagen (1801), 264
  Trafalgar (1805), 257, 264, 266, 282 _et seq._, 321-7, 335-42, 351-8

Berkley, Admiral Sir William, 116

Berry, Sir John, 169

Berry, Captain Edward, 262, 288

Bilboes, 33

Blake, Admiral Robert, 83-5, 92-9;
  orders of, 99-104

Boarding, 7, 13, 15, 42, 51, 59, 62, 68, 97, 119, 326

Boats in action, 10-13, 15, 89-90, 248, 275-6

Boscawen, Admiral Edward, 197, 203-4, 208, 210;
  his Additional Instructions, 219-25

Boswall, Captain, his translation of Hoste, 236 _n._, 287 _n._

Boteler, Captain Nathaniel, on tactics, 27, 73-6

Breaking the line, _see_ Line

Browne, Lieutenant G.L., 299

Buckingham, George Villiers, Duke of, 33, 76

Byng, Admiral Sir George, 204, 218 _n._

Cabins, 61

Calder, Admiral Sir Robert Bart., 294

Calthrops, 11

Captains, lists of, 65-6, 71

Captains, removal of, in action, 247, 274-5, 347

Carteret, Admiral Sir George, 121

Cartouches, 69

Cavalry tactics at sea, 7, 119

Cecil, Sir Edward, Viscount Wimbledon, 31, 49, 51-72, 73, 75, 83, 85

Changing station, _see_ Station

Charles V, Emperor, 1, 18

Chasing, 43, 56, 60, 127-9, 155, 162, 204.
  _See_ also General chase

Chaves, Alonso de, 1 _et seq._ 18-9, 52, 73, 75, 291, 296

Chaves, Hieronymus de, 2

Clearing for action, 41, 58, 62, 69

Clerk of Eldin, 235, 262, 265, 285, 326

Close action, 41, 68, 112, 159, 215, 220

Cochrane, Admiral Sir Alexander, 185, 326-7, 330-4

Codrington, Admiral Sir Edward, 295, 301-7

Collingwood, Admiral Lord, 283, 292, 295, _et seq._;
  his memorandum, 323-30, 336-7

'Commander-in-chief,' 100 _n._

Concentration, 142-5, 154 _n._, 177, 213, 228, and _n._, 259, 284, 330-4
  By doubling, _see_ Doubling;
  On rear, _see_ Rear-concentration
  On van, 143-4, 213, 314-5

Confusing, 36, 144, 213, 284, 291, 315

Containing, 135-8, 214, 284, 297, 318-20, 325
  By feinting, _see_ Feints

Convoy, method of attacking, 219, 227, 288;
  of protecting, 94

Corporal of the field, 40

Corps de reserve, _see_ Reserve

Coventry, Sir William, 111, 114, 128, 133

Cowardice, _see_ Captains, removal of

Cross-bows, 11

Crossing the T, 210, 221

Cruisers, 29, 71-3, 88-90, 99, 103-4, 109, 122, 125,152;
  duties of, in action, 151, 219, 251

Cruising formations, 209, 220, 228

Dartmouth, Admiral George Legge, first lord, 141;
  his instructions, 168-172, 177

Dartmouth MSS. 110, 133, 139

Deane, Admiral Richard, 93, 95

Decres, 310

Defeat, 247

Debug, William Fielding, First Earl of, 49

Detached ships, 240, 244, 249, 269, 272-3, 276, 345

Disabled ships, 101, 103, 112-3, 123-4, 127, 146, 161-2, 192-3, 246-7,
    274, 346-7;
  question of following up, 224, 246, 273, 346

Disrobe, Colonel John, general at sea, 98;
  orders of, 99-104

Discipline, 40, 43-5, 52-4, 58, 93

Dispersing, instructions for, 247, 275

Divisions, independent control of, 287-9, 294-6, 316-9, 323, 327.
  _See also_ Sub squadrons; Order of battle

Doubling, 117, 179-85, 210, 236, 262, 326, 331-3.

Drake, Sir Francis, 17 _n._, 283;
  his sailing order, 29, 50

Duff, Captain George, 303

Demeanor, Vice-Admiral, 310

Duncan, Admiral Viscount, 254, 266, 287

Duodenal, Admiral the Earl of, 337

Tuques, Admiral Abraham, 164

Engaging, _see_ Attack

Equalizing speed, 228, 241, 243, 269, 271, 273

Essex, Robert Devereux, Earl of, 49

Essington, Rear-Admiral, 322

d'Estrees, Marechal, 154 _n._, 179, 182

Etenduere, Admiral des Herbiers de l', 226 _n_.

Exmouth, Admiral Edward Pellew, Lord, 351 _n_.

Expeditional orders, 204-6

Feints, 302, 307-12

Fire discipline, 41-3, 51, 54, 60, 62, 68, 70, 103, 125, 159, 172, 245,
    273, 346

Fire, precautions against, 37, 41, 54, 58-9, 70

Fireships, 89, 90, 103-4;
  instructions for, 139, 149, 159-60, 172, 223-4, 227, 248 and _n._,
    250-1, 274-5

Flag, shifting the, 130, 141, 162 _n._, 248-9, 276, 345-6

Flags, squadronal, 16, 22-3, 55;
  abolished, 251

Flagship as objective, 12, 15, 273. 317, 346.
  _See also_ Admiral, station of

Forcing, 227, 334

Foreign views of British tactics, 97-8, 118-9, 337-9

Frederick, Rear-Admiral, 254 _n._, 255

Frigates, _see_ Cruisers

Galen, Admiral Johann van, 84

Galleys, tactics of, 6;
  used with sailing ships, 18-24

Gambier, Admiral Lord, 322-3, 325;
  his instructions, 327-8

Gambling, 43-4, 52

General chase, 130, 193, 221, 226

'General' for naval conmander-in-chief, 82, 93, 99

General Instructions, 268, 342

George of Denmark, Prince, 195

Gibraltar, 196, 225, 235-6

Glanville, Sir John, 63 _n_.

Gorges, Sir William, 32-5, 50

Grain, 101 and _n_.

Grappling, 7, 12, 248, 250

Grasse, Vice-Admiral Comte de, 238, 285-6

Graves, Admiral Lord, 212

Gravina, Admiral, 264

Greenwood, Jonathan, his signal book, 233 _n_.

Grenades, 11

Grenier, Vicomte de, his tactical treatise, 285

Group tactics, 50-1, 74, 85-7, 338

Guiche, Comte de, on English and Dutch tactics, 118-9

Guides, 239, 240-1, 278-9

Gunfire as basis of tactics, 120

Gunners and gun crews, 35, 62, 69.
  _See also_ Seamen gunners

Gunnery, 69, 97, 263.
  _See also_ Close action, and Fire discipline

Hand-guns, 11

Harpoons, 11

Harvey, Captain Eliab, 297, 310

Hawke, Lord, 116,209,210-1;
  his Additional Instructions, 217-8, 312

Hawkins, Sir Richard, 34

Henry VIII, 14, 18

Herbert, Admiral, _See_ Torrington

Hill, General Lord, 292

Holmes, Admiral Sir Robert, 132 _n_.

Hood, Vice-Admiral Sir Samuel, 322

Hood, Viscount, 211-4;
  his additional signals, 228-9, 236-8, 255

Hope, Captain George, 295, 303, 320 _n_.

Hoste, Pere Paul, his _Evolutions Navales_, 97-8, 113-4, 179-83,
    225 _n._, 235-6, 257, 262-3, 308

Howard of Effingham, Lord, 27, 29

Howard, Sir Edward, 14

Howe, Earl, 184-5, 225 _n._;
  as first lord, 233-8, 252 _et seq._, 262-5, 267;
  his great manoeuvre, 255-62, 265, 267, 287, 308, 311, 336

Hygiene, 44, 60

Initiative, 267-8, 279, 314.
  _See also_ Divisions, independent control of

Intervals, 67, 113, 127, 158, 191, 220, 222-3, 244, 327-8, 330 _n_.

Jack-flag, 108 and _n_.

James II, 168.
  _See also_ York, Duke of

Jervis, Admiral Sir John, Earl of St. Vincent, 254, 265-6

Jonquiere, Admiral de la, 209

Jordan, Admiral Sir Joseph, 141, 155 _n_.

Keats, Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin, 290-2, 295-6, 304, 311, 322

Keith, Admiral Lord, 336, 341

Keppel, Admiral Augustus, Viscount, 235, 258

Knowles, Admiral Sir Charles, 1st bart. (_ob._ 1777), 224 _n._, 235,
    258

Knowles, Admiral Sir Charles Henry, 2nd bart. (1754-1831), 185, 210,
    235 _n._, 235-7, 257-8, 260-1

Landing, 16

Lasking, 171

Lawson, Admiral Sir John, 112

Lestock, Admiral, 188 _n._, 205-8

Lindsey, Robert Bertie, Earl of, 76-7, 85

Line. _See also_ Orders of battle.
  Abreast, 75, 107-9, 165-6, 220
  Ahead, origin of, 28-36, 42, 59, 62, 82-7;
    first instructions for, 92, 95-9, 100-2, 108-9, 124-6;
    insistence on, 134-5, 149, 155, 159, 335-9;
    close hauled, first use of, 113;
    invented by English, 118-21
  of bearing, _see_ Quarter line
  Breaking the, 114, 136-7, 142, 149, 153, 158 _n._, 169-70,
    176-8, 182, 212, 229, 237, 289, 314-5, 324-5;
    early objections to, 145, 153 _n._, 183-4, 256;
    the two methods of, 255-62, 264-6, 279, 326-7, 330-3;
    synonyms for, 261
  Closing up, 192, 198, 241, 243
  Equalising, 205, 219, 221, 227, 346.
    _See also_ Reserve, corps de
  Forming, as convenient, 170-1, 221, 226, 277
  Inverting, 226-7, 238, 331-2
  Position of squadrons in, 239-40
  Principles of, stated, 269, 342
  Quitting the, 161, 193, 198, 247, 273-4.
    _See also_ Equalising
  Early Spanish use of, 8-10;
    early English, 28-36, 42, 59, 62
  Reactions against, 115-6, 159 _n._, 186, 283-9, 335-9
  Reduplication of, 118-9, 312-3, 338, 342 _n._, 352

Linstocks, 11

Lisle, John Dudley, Lord, 18-24, 291, 296

Louisbourg, 203

Love, Sir Thomas, 49-51, 61 _n._

Macpherson, Alexander, 225

Malta, 164

Mathews, Admiral, 188 _n._, 190 _n._, 196, 205-8, 210

Medows, Captain Charles, 225

_Melee_, 259, 267, 291

Monck, George, Duke of Albemarle, 93-9;
  orders of, 99-104, 107, 111-5, 134-6

Monson, Sir William, on tactics, 76

Moore, Admiral Sir Graham, 336

Moorsom, Vice-Admiral Constantine, 298-9

Moorsom, Captain Robert, 298-9, 311 _n._

Morogues, Bigot de, his _Tactique navale_, 171 _n._, 185,
    285 _n._, 327

Mortemart, Duc de, 179

Moulton, Captain Robert, his seabook, 112, 126 _n._, 129 _n._,
    151 _n._

Musket-arrows, 34

Mutual support, 61, 67, 74, 85-6, 89, 91, 100-1, 123, 129, 172, 266-7,
283

Myngs, Admiral Sir Christopher, 136-7

Narbrough, Admiral Sir John, 164-7

Nelson, Admiral Lord, 116, 185, 214, 257, 259, 261, 266, 321-7, 335-42
  His general orders (1798-1801), 264, 287-9
  His memorandum (1803) 261, 280-1, 289-90, 313-6
  His memorandum (1805), 272 _n._, 282-313, 316-20, 353-4

'Nelson touch,' the, 283, 293, 296, 299-313, 326

Norris, Admiral Sir John, 196, 206-7

Oar propulsion, 18-24

O'Bryen, Lieutenant Christopher, his translation of Hoste, 236 _n._

Order of battle, forming, as convenient, 70-1

Orders of battle.
  Early Spanish, 8-10;
  English, 19-24, 50-1, 65 _et seq_,, 74-5;
  wedge-shaped, 9, 19;
  Baskerville's, 30;
  Boteler on, 73-6;
  crescent, 75, 94, 351;
  in two lines, 209, 214, 220, 226, 229, 285, 294-300, 305, 323;
  in three lines, 286, 289-296, 354

Order of sailing, 29, 50, 225 _n._, 235;
  as order of battle, 316, 322, 327, 340

Parisot, his account of Trafalgar, 310 _n._

Pellew, Captain Israel, 299, 351 _n._

Penn, Admiral Sir William, 81, 92, 96, 98, 135;
  orders of, 99-104, 114;
  his talk with Pepys, 120-1

Pepys, Samuel, 117 _n._, 120-1, 168-9

Perez de Grandallana, Don Domingo, 267

Pigot, Admiral Hugh, 212, 228-9 _n._, 237, 255, 260

Popham, Admiral Sir Home, 254, 335-6

Prayers, 33, 36, 52

Preparative signals, 269

Prizes, treatment of, 103, 112

Quarter line, 209, 216-7, 225, 242, 269-71, 344;
  at Trafalgar, 311-2

Quarters, 41-2, 58-9, 62, 69-70

Raking, 170, 221

Ralegh, Sir Walter, 27 _et seq._, 50

Rear-concentration, 143-4, 145 _n._, 180, 221, 226, 238, 249, 263, 289,
    293, 310, 313-9, 330-3, 339-41

Repeating ships, 142, 199, 243, 271, 305 _n._, 308, 344

Reserve, Corps de, 205, 214, 219, 221, 227, 241, 243, 269, 272, 276,
331,
    335. 345.
  _See also_ Equalising and Quitting the line

Reserve squadrons, 7, 12, 50-1, 67, 71

Retreat, order of, 94 and _n._, 165.
  _See also_ Dispersing

Rockets as signals, 163 _n_.

Rodney, Lord, 184-5, 2O9, 211-3;
  Additional Instructions used by, 225, 227 _n._, 228 _n._, 236-7,
    255-62, 284-5, 287

Rooke, Admiral Sir George, 187, 195-9, 207

Rupert, Prince, 111-2, 115-7;
  Instructions of, 129-30, 133-6, 159 _n._, 169

Russell, Admiral Edward, Earl of Orford, 175 _et seq._, 187-96,
    233 _n_.

Ruyter, Admiral Michiel de, 87, 119, 156 _n_.

Sailing order, _see_ Order of sailing

Sailors serving ashore, 37, 56

Sandwich, Edward Mountagu, Earl of, 82, 107-9, 111-2, 165

Saumarez, Admiral Lord de, 262

Scouts, _see_ Cruisers

Sealed orders, 38

Seamen gunners, 35, 41

Ship-money fleets, 76-7

Ships, lists of, 20-2, 65-6, 71, 166
  Achille, 352
  Agamemnon, 301, 303-4, 311 _n._
  Anne Royal, 63, 65
  Assurance, 81
  Bahama, 352
  Belleisle, 294, 300, 304, 357
  Bellerophon, 300, 304, 305 _n._, 357
  Britannia, 195, 354
  Bucentaure, 309, 351
  Colossus, 300-1, 303-6, 352, 357
  Conqueror, 299,305 _n._, 351 _n_.
  Defence, 295, 301, 303-4
  Defiance, 305 _n_.
  Dreadnought (1578), 65;
    (1805), 354
  Euryalus, 305 _n._, 308-9
  Leviathan, 304, 351 _n_.
  Marlborough, 253
  Mars, 300-1, 303-6, 357
  Neptune, 351 _n_.
  Orion, 301-2, 304-5
  Pembroke, 169
  Polyphemus, 304
  Prince, 354
  Prince of Wales, 322
  Queen Charlotte, 252
  Redoutable, 309
  Revenge, 298, 311 _n_.
  Royal Catherine, 169
  Royal Charles, 111, 128-9
  Royal James, 112 _n_.
  Royal Sovereign, 300, 357
  St. George, 264
  Santa Ana, 309
  Santisima Trinidad, 309-10
  Shannon, 225
  Superb, 290
  Swiftsure, 352
  Temeraire, 300, 308, 310, 357
  Vanguard, 287
  Victory, 293, 299, 300, 305, 3O7-8, 357

Shot-holes, 62, 69

Shovell, Admiral Sir Clowdisley, 195, 198 _n._

Sidmouth, Lord, 292, 295

Sign (for signal), 82

Signal books, introduction of, 233 and _n._, 234 and _n._

Signal officers, 216, 299

Signals, early forms of, 10, 38, 54-8, 73;
  improvements in, 242, 152 _n._, 155 _n._, 163 _n._, 233,
    _et seq._, 254 _n._;
  numerical, 235

Slinging yards, 70

Smoke, tactical value of, 8, 10, 15, 16

Soldiers at sea, 35, 37, 41, 53, 56, 59,69;
  as admirals, 29-30, 49, 73-6, 96

Spain, orders adopted from, 18, 33 _n._, 41 _n._

Spanish Armament, the (1790), 253

Squadronal organisation, 50-1, 55, 65-7, 73-4, 85-7, 186-9, 193-4, 322

Stanhope, Vice-Admiral, 322

Station, changing, 218, 226, 243, 276;
  keeping, 222, 224, 228,
  _See also_ Line, quitting the

Stinkballs, 11

Strickland, Admiral Sir Roger, 169

Sub-squadrons, 50-1, 65-7, 85, 87, 322-3.
  _See also_ Divisions

Tacking in succession, first signal for, 113, 127-8

Tactical exercises, 209, 253, 285 _n._

Tactics, principles of, 283-4, 286.
    _See also_ Concentration, Confusing, Containing, Mutual support
  Oscillations in, 178, 213
  Dutch, 50, 66-7, 73, 85-7, 97-8, 114, 118-20, 313
  French, 185, 258-9, 267-8, 285-6
  Spanish, 267-8.
    _See also_ Chaves, Alonso de
  Treatises on, _see_ Hoste, Morogues, Clerk, Grenier, Knowles

Tangier, 168

Telegraphing, 254 _n._

Tobacco smoking, 37

Torrington, Admiral Arthur Herbert, Earl of, 141, 177, 181, 187, 236

Toulouse, Comte de, 196

Tourville, Marechal de, 179-181

Transports, 71

Tromp, Admiral Marten Harpertszoon, 83-7, 93-4;
  orders of, 91

Tromp, Admiral Cornelis Martenszoon, 118, 156 _n._

Van, concentration on, 142-5, 154 _n._

Vane, Sir Harry, 93

Vernon, Admiral, 205-7, 210;
  his Additional Instructions, 214-216

Villeneuve, Admiral, 264, 286, 308-9, 312-3, 342 _n._

Walsh, Lieutenant John, his signal book, 253

Warren, Vice-Admiral Sir Peter, 285 _n._

Weapons for close quarters, 11, 15

Weather-gage, 8, 15, 16, 23-4, 62, 68, 102, 114, 154, 238

Weft, waft or wheft, 89, 99

Wimbledon, _see_ Cecil

Wing squadrons, 18-24, 73

With, Admiral Witte de, 86

Wren, Dr. Mathew, F.R.S., 133, 138-9

York, James, Duke of, 82;
  his instructions, 110-28, 133-63, 177;
  his school, 134-5, 178, 338;
  end of his career, 140

Zamorano, Roderigo, 4

Zante, 164, 167





THE NAVY RECORDS SOCIETY

       *       *       *       *       *

_PATRON_
H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES, K.G., K.T., K.P.

_PRESIDENT_
EARL SPENCER, K.G.

THE NAVY RECORDS SOCIETY, which has been established for the purpose
of printing rare or unpublished works of naval interest, aims at
rendering accessible the sources of our naval history, and at
elucidating questions of naval archaeology, construction,
administration, organisation and social life.

The Society has already issued:--

In 1894: Vols. I. and II. _State Papers relating to the Defeat of
the Spanish Armada, Anno_ 1588. Edited by Professor J.K. Laughton.
(30s.)

In 1895: Vol. III. _Letters of Lord Hood_, 1781-82. Edited by
Mr. David Hannay. (_None available_.)

Vol. IV. _Index to James's Naval History_, By Mr. C.G. Toogood.
Edited by the Hon. T.A. Brassey. (12_s._ 6_d._)

Vol. V. _Life of Captain Stephen Martin_, 1666-1740. Edited by
Sir Clements R. Markham. (_None available_.)

In 1896: Vol. VI. _Journal of Rear-Admiral Bartholomew James_,
1752-1828. Edited by Professor J.K. Laughton and Commander
J.Y.F. Sulivan. (10_s._ 6_d._)

Vol. VII. _Hollond's Discourses of the Navy_, 1638 and
1658. Edited by Mr. J.R. Tanner. (12_s._ 6_d._)
Vol. VIII. _Naval Accounts and Inventories in the Reign of Henry
VII_. Edited by Mr. M. Oppenheim. (10_s._ 6_d._)

In 1897: Vol. IX. _Journal of Sir George Rooke_. Edited by
Mr. Oscar Browning. (10_s._ 6_d._)

Vol. X. _Letters and Papers relating to the War with France_,
1512-13. Edited by M. Alfred Spont. (10_s._ 6_d._)

Vol. XI. _Papers relating to the Spanish War_, 1585-87. Edited
by Mr. Julian Corbett. (10_s._ 6_d._)

In 1898: Vol. XII. _Journals and Letters of Admiral of the Fleet Sir
Thomas Byam Martin_, 1773-1854 (Vol. II.). Edited by Admiral Sir
R. Vesey Hamilton. (_See_ XXIV.)

Vol. XIII. _Papers relating to the First Dutch War_, 1652-54
(Vol. I.). Edited by Mr. S.R. Gardiner. (10_s._ 6_d._)

Vol. XIV. _Papers relating to the Blockade of Brest_, 1803-5
(Vol. I.). Edited by Mr. J. Leyland. (_See_ XXI.)

In 1899: Vol. XV. _History of the Russian Fleet during the Reign of
Peter the Great. By a Contemporary Englishman_. Edited by Admiral
Sir Cyprian Bridge. (10_s._ 6_d._)

Vol. XVI. _Logs of the Great Sea Fights_, 1794-1805
(Vol. I.). Edited by Vice-Admiral Sir T. Sturges Jackson. (_See_
XVIII.)

Vol. XVII. _Papers relating to the First Dutch War_, 1652-54
(Vol. II.). Edited by Mr. S.R. Gardiner, (10_s._ 6_d._)

In 1900: Vol. XVIII. _Logs of the Great Sea Fights_
(Vol. II.). Edited by Sir T.S. Jackson. (_Two vols._ 25_s._)

Vol. XIX. _Journals and Letters of Sir T. Byam Martin_
(Vol. III.). Edited by Sir R. Vesey Hamilton. (_See_ XXIV.)

In 1901: Vol. XX. _The Naval Miscellany_ (Vol. I.). Edited by
the Secretary. (15_s._)

Vol. XXI. _Papers relating to the Blockade of Brest_, 1803-5
(Vol. II.). Edited by Mr. John Leyland (_Two vols._ 25_s._)
In 1902: Vols. XXII. and XXIII. _The Naval Tracts of Sir
William. Monson_ (Vols. I. and II.). Edited by Mr. M. Oppenheim.
(_Two vols._ 25_s._)

Vol XXIV. _Journals and Letters of Sir T. Byam Martin_
(Vol. I.). Edited by Sir R. Vesey Hamilton. (_Three vols._
31_s._ 6_d._)

In 1903: Vol. XXV. _Nelson and the Neapolitan Jacobins_. Edited
by Mr. H.C. Gutteridge.(12_s._ 6_d._)

Vol. XXVI. _A Descriptive Catalogue of the Naval MSS. in the
Pepysian Library_ (Vol. I.). Edited by Mr. J.R. Tanner.
(15_s._)

In 1904: Vol. XXVII. _A Descriptive Catalogue of the Naval MSS. in
the Pepysian Library_ (Vol. II.). Edited by Mr. J.R. Tanner.
(12_s_. 6_d._)

Vol. XXVIII. _The Correspondence of Admiral John Markkam_,
1801-7. Edited by Sir Clements R. Markham. (12_s._ 6_d._)

In 1905: Vol. XXIX. _Fighting Instructions_, 1530-1816. Edited
by Mr. Julian Corbett.

_To follow:_

Vol. XXX. _Papers relating to the First Dutch War_, 1652-54
(Vol. III.). Edited by Mr. C.T. Atkinson.

Other works in preparation, in addition to further volumes of
Mr. Tanner's _Descriptive Catalogue_, of _Sir William Monson's
Tracts_, of _The First Dutch War_, which will be edited by
Mr. C.T. Atkinson, and of _The Naval Miscellany_, are _The
Journal of Captain_ (afterwards Sir John) _Narbrough_, 1672-73,
to be edited by Professor J.K. Laughton; _Official Documents
illustrating the Social Life and Internal Discipline of the Navy in
the XVIIIth Century_, to be edited by Professor J.K. Laughton; _Select
Correspondence of the great Earl of Chatham and his Sons_, to be
edited by Professor J.K. Laughton; _Select Correspondence of Sir
Charles Middleton, afterwards Lord Barham_, 1778-1806, to be edited by

Professor J.K. Laughton; _Reminiscences of Commander James Anthony
Gardner_, 1775-1806, to be edited by Sir R. Vesey Hamilton; and a
_Collection of Naval Songs and Ballads_, to be edited by Professor
C.H. Firth and Mr. Henry Newbolt.

Any person wishing to become a Member of the Society is requested to
apply to the Secretary (Professor Laughton, 9 Pepys Road, Wimbledon,
S.W.), who will submit his name to the Council. The Annual
Subscription is One Guinea, the payment of which entitles the Member
to receive one copy of all works issued by the Society for that
year. The publications are not offered for general sale; but Members
can obtain a complete set of the volumes on payment of the back
subscriptions. Single volumes can also be obtained by Members at the
prices marked to each.

_May_ 1905.

PRINTED BY

SPOTTISWOODE AND CO. LTD., NEW-STREET SQUARE

LONDON

NAVY RECORDS SOCIETY

       *       *       *       *       *

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL

       *       *       *       *       *

_Read at the Thirteenth Annual General Meeting, Thursday, June_
28, 1906.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE COUNCIL have to report that the number of members and subscribers
on the Society's list is 536; a net increase of 28 over last
year. This is largely due to the additional support received from the
Admiralty, which has increased the number of its subscriptions to
fourteen, as well as to the accession of other departments of the
public service and of public institutions, including

The War Course College, Devonport;

The War Course College, Portsmouth;

The Staff College, Camberley;

The University of Liverpool;

The Public Libraries, Cardiff;

The Public Libraries, Croydon;

and, in his private capacity, the Secretary of State for War. The
Society of Swedish Naval Officers, Stockholm, has also been admitted
as a subscriber.

On the other hand, death has removed nine of our members, and among
them two who have, from the beginning, been most active in furthering
the ends and promoting the interests of the Society. These are:--

Captain MONTAGU BURROWS, R.N., Chichele Professor of History in the
University of Oxford, and known to all of us as the author of the
_Life of Hawke_; and

Rear-Admiral Sir WILLIAM WHARTON, K.C.B., Hydrographer to the
Admiralty.

The names of the others are:--

Sir W. LAIRD CLOWES;
Earl COWPER;
Lord CURRIE, G.C.B.;
Commander W.M. LATHAM, R.N.;
Mr. C.A. NANKIVELL;
Mr. G.R. STEVENS;
Commander W.H. WATSON, R.N.R.

While congratulating the Society on the improving appearance of the
list, the Council would again urge on every member the necessity of
his individual co-operation in the endeavour to make the work of the
Society more generally and widely known. To this end they also invite
the assistance of the Press. It is only by such increased publicity
that the numbers, the funds, and therefore the work and usefulness, of
the Society can be maintained.

Since the date of the last General Meeting the Society has issued:

For 1905. Vol. XXX. _The First Dutch War_ (Vol. III.). Edited by
the late Dr. S.R. GARDINER and Mr. C.T. ATKINSON.

For this year it is proposed to issue _The Reminiscences of
Commander James Anthony Gardner_, 1775-1806, edited by Sir R. VESEY
HAMILTON; and _Select Correspondence of Sir Charles Middleton,
afterwards Lord Barham_, edited by Professor J.K. LAUGHTON.

These are now well advanced, and will, it is hoped, be issued in the
course of the autumn.

Of the several works in preparation--a list of which will be found in
the Advertisement at the end of Vol. XXX--it is unnecessary to speak
here.

The Society will, however, be interested to learn that copies have
been found of the Fighting Instructions of Hawke and Rodney. These
were described at some length by Mr. Julian S. Corbett in the
_Times_ of December 19, and, by the kind permission of the owner,
Mr. Pritchard, will be edited for the Society by Mr. Corbett, and
issued--probably next year--either as a separate volume or included in
a volume of the Miscellany.

The Balance Sheet is appended.

ABSTRACT OF ACCOUNTS.--JANUARY 1 TO DECEMBER 31, 1905.
                      RECEIPTS.
                               L  s. d.    L  s. d. |
Balance brought forward:--                          |
  At Messrs. Coutts & Co.     202  5 10             |
  With Treasurer                0 18  0             |
  With Secretary                8 17  1             |
                              ---------   212  0 11 |
612 Subscriptions             642 12  0             |
  Over-payment on same          0  1  4             |
                              ---------   642 13  4 |
Volumes sold                               60  1  0 |
                                          --------- |
                                         L914 15  3 |
                                         ========== |
Audited and found correct:--
      W.A. JAMES,          } _Auditors_.
      P.H. PRIDHAM WIPPELL,}
  _May 1906_.

                      PAYMENTS.
                                           L  s. d.
Printing, &c.                            370  3  3
Indexing and Transcribing                  7  8  0
Salaries and Wages                       110 18  9
Miscellaneous                              9 18  5
Balance carried forward:--
  At Messrs. Coutts & Co.    L412 10  5
  With Treasurer                1  1  0
  With Secretary                2 15  5
                              ---------   416  6 10
                                          ---------
                                         L914 15  3
                                          =========
      W. GRAHAM GREENE,
         _Hon. Treasurer_.





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